9-Year-Old Dies from Influenza

A 9-year-old San Diego boy died from influenza, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

The boy died March 26 from influenza B and had an underlying medical condition. This is the second pediatric death from the flu in the county this season.

“A child dying from influenza is tragic,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Our sympathy and condolences go out to the family for their loss.”

Five other flu deaths were also reported the week ending March 26, bringing the season total to 56. Ninety-one flu deaths had been reported at the same time last year. The ages of those who have died this season range from 9 to 98, and seven had no known underlying medical conditions.

For the week ending March 26, 2016 (Week 12), the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 6 percent of all visits (up from 5 percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 281 (down from 395 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 56 (compared to 91 last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 5,599 (compared to 6,612 last season)

Your Best Shot Against the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

This season’s flu vaccine offers protection against several strains of the flu including influenza A H3N2, pandemic H1N1-like, and influenza B strains.

Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if your symptoms are under control
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

Other Tips to Stay Healthy

In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others

The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a Community Health Center or County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit or call 2-1-1.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact