San Diego County CA— (CNC) The number of flu deaths in San Diego County this season jumped to 43 last week. The County Health and Human Services Agency today announced 14 more San Diegans died from complications from the flu.
“Between late January and early February is typically the peak period of the local flu season,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County public health officer. “It’s important that people continue to take precautionary measures to avoid getting sick, including getting vaccinated.”
The ages of those who have died this season now range from 51 to 99 years and all had underlying medical conditions.
Influenza claimed the lives of 70 San Diegans during the 2013-2014 season, and there were 44 deaths at this time last year. There were 65 deaths during 2012-2013. These were the deadliest flu seasons since HHSA began tracking the disease.
For the week ending Feb. 7, 2015, the HHSA Influenza Watch report shows the following:
- Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 6 percent of all visits (down from 8 percent the previous week)
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 722 (down from 853 the previous week)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 43 (compared to 44 last season)
- Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 4,736 (compared to 3,135 last season)
County health officials continue to encourage San Diegans to contact their doctor immediately if they start to develop flu-like symptoms so that they can be evaluated for antiviral drugs, which work best if given within 48 hours after symptoms appear.
Antiviral drugs are recommended for high-risk groups, including:
- People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if your symptoms are under control
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop after receiving the vaccine.
The CDC has indicated this year’s vaccine is not as good a match for one of the strains, but it is very well matched for the other strains. Partial protection is better than no protection and having the vaccine helps prevent severe illness and hospitalizations.
For more information on influenza, vaccine availability and tips on how to stay healthy, visit The Flu and You.