The state has confirmed seven flu-related fatalities and is investigating 28 more.
According to the state Department of Public Health, a virus similar to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, which killed more than 600 Californians, is spreading fast. State health officials say this year’s version of H1N1 is a particularly nasty bug.
“We learned during the pandemic that, unfortunately, H1N1 does have a tendency to cause illness and deaths across all age spans,” says State Epidemiologist Doctor Gil Chavez.
Two of the confirmed fatalities were healthy adults, not seniors or very young children. Medical experts say people feeling worn down, with a high fever and a bad, persistent cough should seek medical attention. Even deep into the flu season, doctors say the flu vaccine provides protection for anyone over six months old.
Povery-striken, densely packed neighborhoods in the Sacramento region were hit hardest by this year's flu, according to a newspaper analysis.
The number of flu-related deaths has increased again in California -- by 35 in the past week -- bringing the total number of deaths to 278 this season.
California is reporting almost twice the number of flu-related deaths as last year.
The County Department of Health and Human Services says the most recent victim was a 53-year-old man who died at home.