County health officials say eight more people have died from complications of the flu in San Diego County but despite those latest stats, it appears local influenza activity is decreasing.
According to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), these latest flu-related deaths for the week ending on Feb. 15 make for a total of 43 influenza deaths to date this season in San Diego.
However, health officials say the number of total lab-confirmed flu cases in the region have continued to drop with 196 cases reported for the week compared to 297 the previous week.
The percentage of patients who went to an emergency room with influenza-like illness also dropped, the HHSA confirmed.
“Influenza activity in the region appears to be winding down and that is definitely a good sign,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.
According to the HHSA, flu season typically ends in April but it’s not too late to get a flu shot to avoid getting sick.
Last month, Wooten said Pandemic H1N1 is the prevalent strain circulating this flu season, and current vaccines offer protection against the H1N1 strain, as well as Influenza A H3N1 and Influenza B strains. More information about vaccinations is available here.
In addition to getting vaccinated, the HHSA says frequent, thorough hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer can prevent the flu from spreading.
The San Diego residents who have died from influenza this season ranged in age from 26 to 100 and almost all had underlying medical conditions, according to the HHSA.
Last year, a total of 65 flu-related deaths were reported in the county.