San Diego Flu Cases Jump Significantly

Increases in the number of lab-confirmed, influenza cases have been reported since late Nov., but none compared to the jump that occurred last week, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

A total of 563 cases were reported last week, more than double the 227 cases in the previous week. Also, a 91-year-old man with underlying medical conditions died Dec. 13, the fifth death reported this season.

“Flu activity has been accelerating over the past three weeks and more people could get sick,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Get vaccinated now before the worst of the flu season gets here.”

For the week ending Dec. 16, 2017, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 5 percent of all visits (compared to 4 percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 563 (compared to 227 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 5 (compared to 4 at this time last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 1,646 (compared to 451 last season)

It’s Not Too Late for a Flu Shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated. 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 or call 2-1-1.

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