Los Angeles County and the entire state has seen a sharp increase in the number of flu cases being reported, County and State officials announced today.
Two deaths have been reported so far this year. A total of 6 have died from influenza related complications since the start of September, according to county officials.
Seven people across the state have died this year as a result of the flu, state health officials said.
One of the seven deaths confirmed by the state, one was from Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reported today.
A total of 575 illnesses confirmed thus far through testing -- 222 in just the last week, according to the Times.
“Locally, percent positive lab tests of influenza have risen steadily over the past month and have jumped to 18.6 percent, up from 13.5 percent the previous week and 8.7 percent the week before that,” officials wrote in a recently released Influenza Watch Newsletter. “Relative to last year, the 2013-14 influenza season appears to be starting earlier, however an earlier season does not necessarily mean a more severe season.”
The Center for Disease Control reports that a H1N1, or swine flu, is the dominant strain. It is the same strain that appeared during the 2009-10 pandemic, officials wrote.
“H1N1 tends to affect children and young adults disproportionately and can cause severe disease in otherwise healthy individuals,” health officials wrote.
Protection against this strain of flu is included in this year’s vaccines so officials are encouraging those who have not gotten flu shots to find a location to get one as soon as possible.