Calif. Flu Death Toll Rises Past 300, 10x More Than Last Year

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The number of people who have died from the flu this winter season in California has now surpassed the 300-mark, state health doctors released Friday, 10 times the number of deaths reported at the same time last year.

    The tally will soon officially count for the death of a 42-year old man, who suffered from possible underlying conditions in Santa Clara County. His death, reported on Friday, brings the Bay Area flu-related death toll to 50.
     
    According to Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, the number of confirmed influenza related deaths in people younger than 65 reported in the state has increased by 24 to a total of 302 confirmed deaths for the 2013-14 season.  Six of those deaths were children. There are another 19 deaths under investigation, not yet confirmed.

    To compare, the health department talled 34 influenza fatalities in all of the 2012-13 season. And in 2012, the number of flu-related deaths totaled 106. 

    In Los Angeles County, 72 influenza-associated deaths have been reported for the 2013-2014 flu season, according to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. That's two more than the total for 2012-2013.

    And while the numbers are high this year, in 2009, there were 539 flu-related deaths in people younger than 65 statewide. That's the same year this particular strain first surfaced in the United States, prompting the first global pandemic in more than 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At this time, there was no vaccine for this strain.

    Most of the Californians under 65 who have died from the flu this season had underlying health conditions, according to state health officials.

    NBC Bay Area's Shawn Murphy contributed to this report.