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Officials: Flu activity widespread in California

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 file photo, Carlos Maisonet, 73, reacts as Dr. Eva Berrios-Colon, a professor at Touro College of Pharmacy, injects him with flu vaccine during a visit to the faculty practice center at Brooklyn Hospital in New York. Health officials say nine more deaths of children from the flu have been reported, bringing the total this flu season to 29. In a typical season, about 100 children die of the flu, so it is not known whether this year will be better or worse than usual. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says half of confirmed flu cases so far are in people 65 and older. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

LOS ANGELES — California health officials say flu activity is now widespread throughout the state, and one new death in people under 65 has been reported, bringing this season's death toll to five people.

State communicable disease chief Dr. James Watt says flu activity has seen a steep increase in recent weeks, and is expected to peak in February. California has had fairly mild flu seasons over the past two years, and this year's is expected to be worse.

Watt says deaths have been reported in the Sacramento metro area, the Visalia-Porterville metro area, the Inland Empire and two in greater Los Angeles.

The state's reporting period covers through January 12, and only includes flu death victims under age 65.

Watts urges Californians to get flu shots, wash their hands, and cover coughs.


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