Six New Flu Deaths Reported, Activity Decreasing in San Diego

flu vaccine

While influenza activity continued to decrease in San Diego, another six flu deaths were reported last week, bringing this season’s total to 339, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

The ages of San Diegans who died from influenza this season ranged from 1 to 101, and almost all had underlying medical conditions. Forty-two (12 percent) of the deaths were of people under 65 years old, which are the only cases public health agencies are required to report in California. The County informs the public about all flu deaths. The high number of deaths is the result of an unusually severe flu season, but also due to better reporting and tracking by the local medical community and the County.

An additional 175 lab-confirmed flu cases were reported last week, a slight decrease from the previous week when 264 cases were reported. Emergency department visits of patients with flu-like symptoms remained at 2 percent. The peak in emergency room visits for flu was 13 percent in late December.

“This has been a severe flu season, and that’s one of the reasons for the higher number of influenza deaths,” said Wilma Wooten M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The flu is still in our region. People should continue to get vaccinated to avoid getting sick.”

For the week ending April 14, 2018, the County Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 2 percent of all visits (compared to 2 percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 175 (compared to 264 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 339 (compared to 85 at this time last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 20,559 (compared to 5,368 last season)

Your Best Shot Against the Flu

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 San Diego.

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