Sacramento, California - Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and state health officer, announced last week the number of confirmed influenza-related deaths in persons under 65 years of age reported in the state has increased by 16, to a total of 318 confirmed deaths for the 2013-14 season. Six of the 318 are pediatric deaths.

There are an additional 26 deaths under investigation, not yet confirmed.

The 318 confirmed influenza-associated deaths this season have been reported by the following local jurisdictions: Alameda (7), Butte (1), Calaveras (2), Contra Costa (7), El Dorado (2), Fresno (21), Glenn (1), Humboldt (1), Imperial (1), Kern (10), Kings (6), Lake (1), Lassen (1), Long Beach (7), Los Angeles (52), Madera (3), Marin (2), Mendocino (4), Merced (5), Monterey (5), Nevada (1), Orange (13), Riverside (15), Sacramento (26), San Bernardino (23), San Diego (27), San Francisco (3), San Joaquin (7), San Luis Obispo (1), San Mateo (6), Santa Barbara (3), Santa Clara (16), Santa Cruz (3), Shasta (3), Siskiyou (2), Solano (3), Sonoma (6), Stanislaus (13), Sutter (1), Tulare (3), Tuolumne (1) and Ventura (3).

By this time last year, CDPH had received reports of 43 influenza-related fatalities in persons under 65 years of age. In all of the 2012-13 season, a total of 106 deaths were reported.

The majority of reported influenza deaths in persons under 65 years of age have occurred in people with underlying medical conditions. Outpatient visits continue to decrease, and both outpatient visits and hospitalizations are within expected levels for this time of year. The flu-season activity status was decreased from regional to local.

Those at highest risk - the elderly, pregnant women, infants or those with other health conditions - who show flu symptoms should contact their physician immediately in order to get the most effective treatment. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Influenza vaccine remains available and there is no widespread shortage of anti-virals for treatment. CDPH continues to closely monitor influenza activity.

Visit a flu vaccine location near you to get immunized. Some local health departments may also offer free or low-cost immunizations.

More information on influenza and other respiratory disease surveillance reports can be found on the CDPH website.