Health

Flu Deaths, Case Count Elevated in San Diego

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The number of local flu deaths and lab-confirmed cases being reported this season continues to be elevated compared to last season, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

A fourth death was reported last week. The person was a 92-year-old man who died Nov. 11 of influenza A. One death had been reported in San Diego County at this time last season.

To date, a total of 574 lab-confirmed cases have been reported in the region this season, 400 more than the 174 that had been reported at the same time last year.

“The number of flu deaths and cases being reported this year continues to outpace the totals from the last season,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The flu can be deadly, especially for vulnerable populations. The best protection against the flu is getting vaccinated.”

For the week ending Nov. 18, 2017, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 1 percent of all visits (the same as the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 133 (compared to 58 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 4 (compared to 1 at this time 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 shot every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.

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 symptoms are under control
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

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 County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.

 

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