32 new flu deaths in California, death toll stands at 74 statewide

The California Department of Public Health reported 32 additional flu deaths of Californians under the age of 65 -- almost double what it was a week ago.  The death toll from the flu now stands at 74 statewide.

Last year at this time, that number was 14.

"It’s troubling,” said Dr. A.K. Misra. “It's troubling on how far reaching it went. Especially when it is something we would like to have done better with.”

Of the flu-related fatalities, 25 are from the greater Bay Area as of last Saturday. And of that, six are from Contra Costa County, five from Santa Clara County, four from Monterey County and three from Santa Cruz County.

A new study reveals that people infected with the flu can pass it on just by breathing.

"Part of that is what is being identified as the culprit. This one seems particularly strong and may its transmissibility is more," said Misra.

Several Bay Area health clinics and hospitals say the number of flu patients they are seeing appears to be levelling off.

But that wouldn’t necessarily man the crisis is over.

"Sometimes there can be a wave on its way. So it's a little hard to say," said Misra.

Health experts still recommend people get their flu shot. It's not a guarantee against getting the flu, but doctors say it is much better than not getting a flu shot.

They also say someone with a fever of 100 degrees or higher should see a doctor immediately.