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State Flu Death Toll Rises To 278

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The number of confirmed flu-related deaths in Californians under 65 years old has risen to 278, with six of those deaths being children.

State health officials say there are also 29 more deaths under investigation that have not yet been confirmed as influenza-related.

The 2013-14 flu season’s death toll is poised to quickly triple the deaths reported in 2012-13, when 106 people died of flu-related symptoms.

The state’s heavily-populated areas have seen the majority of flu-related deaths this season. Southern California – including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino – has seen 85 deaths from flu this season, according to state health officials.

The majority of flu deaths have occurred in people with underlying medical conditions. But while outpatient visits and hospitalizations decrease, the flu remains widespread.

“Even a single death from the flu is a tragedy,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health. “The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated. The influenza season continues and it’s not too late for vaccination.”

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