Acute Communicable
Disease Control


Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856

Call 211 For Information 24/7

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Acute Communicable Disease Control
Influenza (Flu) (see also the Influenza Surveillance page)

image of a lady receiving a fly shot

Influenza, commonly called the “flu,” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. In the United States, influenza is associated with approximately 200,000 hospitalizations each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that during the three decades spanning 1976-2007, influenza-associated deaths ranged from 3,000 to 49,000 annually.  

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as vaccine is available each fall.  Since the virus changes each year it is necessary to receive a new influenza vaccine each year. People at high risk for complications include:

• Pregnant women
Children younger than five years of age
• Adults 50 years of age and older
• Anyone who is immunocompromised due to disease or medication
• People of any age with chronic medical conditions
• People who work or live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities as well as health care and day care workers

In addition, practicing good health habits such as hand washing and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing helps prevent the spread of influenza.

If diagnosed within two days of illness, anti-viral medication may be prescribed to treat influenza (note that antibiotics will not work as influenza is caused by a virus and antibiotics are only useful for diseases caused by bacteria).

A note on the often confusing terminology of “flu:” Technically, “flu” is the disease you get when you are infected with an influenza virus.  However, there are many other respiratory viruses, such as parainfluenza, RSV, adenovirus, enterovirus, and human metapneumovirus that can cause the same symptoms as influenza (fever, cough, sore throat).  Furthermore, many use the term “stomach flu” or “GI flu” to describe vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea.  However, these symptoms are rarely found with infection by the influenza virus and they are usually caused by other viruses or bacteria. In these pages, when we use “flu,” we are referring to the illness caused by infection with influenza viruses.

What's happening with flu now


Local and National Surveillance


For The Public
For Health Care Professionals

For Skilled Nursing Facilities
For Schools


Health Officer Order
Influenza Vaccination Flyer
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