Flu-related deaths in San Diego reaches 21

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The number of people who have died of influenza-related causes in the San Diego region this "flu season” has reached 21, but the rate of new illnesses has dropped for the first time in a couple of months, county health officials reported Wednesday.

The toll of fatalities rose by seven from last week’s tally, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

The ages of the people who have died range from 45 to 96 years. Except for a pair of women aged 45 and 89, the victims had underlying medical conditions.

At this time last year, six people had died of complications from the illness.

The number of lab-confirmed flu cases dropped last week to 322, down from 437 the week before, still large numbers. The HHSA said more than 2,100 cases of the flu have been confirmed, almost triple the total of this time last year.

"Influenza continues to be widespread in the region,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. "People should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone at least 6 months old. Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at high risk.

Other suggestions for staying healthy include frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

Flu vaccines are available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies. People without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available at www.sdiz.org or by calling 211.

Categories: Local San Diego News