The flu gained pace in California and nationwide this week, with three deaths now reported in the Golden State and dozens of people heading to local hospitals, health officials said Friday.
Influenza has reached “widespread” levels, especially in Northern and Central California, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Traveling and holiday celebrations where there are large groups of people could be a reason why flu activity is increasing, said Dr. Karen Smith, director for the California Department of Public Health.
“Typically during this time of year, many people attend family events and parties,” Smith said. “It’s also a perfect opportunity to catch the flu, especially for those who are not vaccinated.”
Influenza typically takes hold in the months between December and February, health officials said.
The state’s health department has received reports of 29 severe influenza cases so far that resulted in admissions to hospital intensive care units. These patients were all 64 years old and younger.
In Los Angeles County, 309 people tested positive for influenza as of Dec. 10, compared with 124 positive tests for the same time period last year.
In fact, California’s first flu-related death of this season occurred in Los Angeles County a few weeks ago.
Across the nation, influenza appears to be increasing as well, with activity highest in Arizona and Alabama followed by Oklahoma, Mississippi and North Carolina, according to the federal Centers…
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