Four new influenza-related deaths were reported in San Diego County last week, although health officials say, simultaneously, the number of flu cases went down significantly.
The County Health and Human Services Agency said earlier this week these newest flu-related deaths bring this season’s total to 59. At this same time last year, there had been 333 flu fatalities reported in San Diego County.
The HHSA said the latest influenza-related deaths include locals ranging in age from 69 to 90; all had underlying medical conditions.
Health officials update the status of the flu, as it impacts our county, in a weekly report.
In this week's report, the HHSA said the number of lab-confirmed flu cases in the county dropped to 313, from 556 cases reported the week before. So far this season, 8,764 flu cases have been reported in San Diego County. Last year, at this time, 20,362 flu cases had been reported amid a surge.
Meanwhile, health officials said the most commonly identified flu strain making San Diegans ill, at this point, is A H3N2. This strain tends to sicken the elderly and very young, as well as those with chronic medical conditions. Influenza A Pandemic H1N1 is still circulating, as well as a low number of Influenza B viruses, health officials added.
County public health officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., said the figures appear to show that flu cases are waning. Still, the best protection, Wooten said, is vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu shot every year. For those without insurance, county public health centers offer the vaccination.