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5 More Flu Deaths Reported in San Diego

courtesy county news center
courtesy county news center
Influenza activity in the region remains elevated, and five more deaths have been reported, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced Thursday.

The new flu-related deaths raise the total reported locally this season to 12. The people who died ranged in age from 35 to 91 years old and all had underlying medical conditions. Last season, 65 flu-related deaths were reported in the county.

For the week ending January 18, 2014, HHSA reported the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 10 percent of visits (down from 11 percent the previous week; the figure has been revised since the last report)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 545 (down from 704 the previous week; the figure has been revised since the last report)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date this season: 1,965
The latest statistics involving children as of January 23, 2014:
  • 11 patients are currently at Rady Children’s Hospital with influenza. 
  • 2 patients have been admitted into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).
  • In the Emergency Department, approximately 10-15% of patients we are seeing have influenza or influenza-like illness.
  • Since January 1, 13 patients have been admitted to our Intensive Care Unit with Influenza.
  • Since January 1, almost a quarter of the patients we have tested for influenza have been admitted to the hospital.

“Influenza is widespread in San Diego and if you have not gotten vaccinated it’s not too late to do it,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.  “The predominant influenza virus circulating in San Diego this season is Pandemic H1N1.  This is similar to the flu seen in other parts of the country.” 

Compared to last season, a significantly higher proportion of young and middle-aged adults are being reported with flu, which is expected with H1N1.  More San Diegans have required intensive care for influenza than at this time last year, with 92 cases reported so far this season.  There were 116 intensive care cases reported for all of last season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is especially important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu, including people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women, and people 65 years and older.

The current flu vaccines offer protection against Pandemic H1N1, Influenza A H3N2 and Influenza B strains. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop after getting vaccinated.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you should also wash your hands thoroughly and often, use hand sanitizers and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Staying away from sick people, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and staying home when sick are also recommended.

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.     

–County News Center 

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