Five more deaths from the flu were reported in San Diego County last week, raising the total this season to 19, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency. The number of lab-confirmed cases of the flu has topped 2,000 in the county, levels officials say are expected during a moderate flu season.
The fatal flu cases were in the age range of 46 to 97 years old, and all but one had underlying medical conditions or were elderly, according to county officials. The 19 fatal cases make this flu season the fourth deadliest on record, with the 58 reported in 2009-2010 the highest recorded.
Most people that get the flu don’t need medical attention and can recover at home. However, the virus can be dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, infants, people with chronic conditions and compromised immune systems.
Health officials recommend getting a flu vaccine and say it’s not too late, as the flu season could still last a few more months. A map of pharmacies offering the vaccine can be found online.
“Influenza continues to be widespread and, unfortunately, five more people died from complications from the flu,” said Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “We have had mild flu seasons in the past two years, while this year has strains that are making people sicker. That is why it is extremely important that people get vaccinated to avoid getting sick.”
Based on the latest Influenza Watch report, covering the week ending Jan. 26, the County Health and Human Services Agency is reporting the following:
- Total influenza deaths: 19 (up from 14).
- Influenza-like-illness at emergency departments: 12 percent (10 percent last week).
- New lab-confirmed influenza cases: 861 (503 last week).
- Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 2,041 (up from 1,179).