Health

Weekly Flu Cases Set a New High for Season in San Diego

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A total of 616 lab-confirmed influenza cases were reported last week, setting a new high for weekly totals this season, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

Also, three additional deaths were reported last week, bringing this season’s total to 45. In comparison, 288 flu fatalities had been reported at the same time last year.

The three new deaths were a 44-year-old man from North County, a 101-year-old woman from San Diego and a 33-year-old man from East County. All had underlying medical conditions.

“Given the high number of cases that continue to be reported, influenza continues to be widespread throughout the community,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “It is not too late to get a flu shot.”

A total of 6,094 influenza cases have been reported this season. During the same time last season, a total of 18,137 flu cases had been reported. The number of people at emergency departments with influenza-like symptoms remained at 6 percent last 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 2, 2019, the Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 6 percent of all visits (the same percent as the previous week).
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 616 (compared to 538 the previous week).
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 45 (compared to 288 at this time last season).
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 6,094 (compared to 18,137 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 www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.

 

 

 

 

 

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