Flu Not Easing Up on San Diego

flu vaccine

While there was a slight dip in the number of influenza cases reported in the region last week, influenza activity is still moderate, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

A total of 564 lab-confirmed influenza cases were reported last week, 54 fewer than the week before.

Two new flu fatalities were reported last week, bringing this season’s total to 47. In comparison, a total of 301 San Diegans had died at the same time last year.

The newly reported flu deaths were of a 96-year-old woman South County and a 56-year-old man from North County. Both had underlying medical conditions.

“We’re two weeks into March and influenza is still making people sick,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The best protection against the flu virus is getting vaccinated.”

A total of 6,660 influenza cases have been reported this season, thousands less than the 18,758 that had been reported at the same time last year. The number of people at emergency departments with influenza-like symptoms remained also went down to 5 percent last week compared to 6 percent the previous week.

The County Health and Human Services Agency publishes the weekly Influenza Watch report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region.

For the week ending March 9, 2019, the Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 5 percent of all visits (compared to 6 percent as the previous week).
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 564 (compared to 618 the previous week).
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 47 (compared to 301 at this time last season).
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 6,660 (compared to 18,758 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; and
  • 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; and
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.

The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, community clinics, 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 or call 2-1-1.

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