Uptick in Weekly Flu Cases Sets New High for San Diego County This Season

So far this flu season, 45 people have died of influenza-related issues in San Diego County

Flu season isn’t over just yet: an uptick in reported influenza cases have set a new high for weekly totals this season in San Diego County, health officials confirmed.

In its weekly flu report Wednesday, the County Health and Human Services Agency said 616 lab-confirmed flu cases were reported last week in San Diego – a spike from the 538 cases reported the previous week.

Three flu-related deaths were also reported in the county last week: a 44-year-old man from San Diego’s North County; a 101-year-old San Diego woman; and a 33-year-old East County man. The HHSA said all three patients had underlying health issues.

In mid-February, a 14-year-old San Diego girl died from influenza A Pandemic H1N1. She was the first local child to die from the flu this season, health officials said. She had an underlying medical condition.

Before that case, the youngest San Diego resident to die from the flu this season had been a 27-year-old man who died from influenza Pandemic H1N1 on Jan. 9.

In all, the HHSA said there have been 45 flu-related deaths this season in San Diego County. Last year, at this same time, there had been 288 flu fatalities in the county.

Meanwhile, health officials said a total of 6,094 influenza cases have been reported in San Diego County this season. At the same time last year, during an unprecedented spike in flu cases and deaths, 18,137 flu cases had been reported locally.

While the number of weekly cases hit a high last week, the HHSA said one figure remained the same as the week prior: 6 percent of people visited local emergency departments with flu-like symptoms.

The HHSA said two weeks ago that many reported cases in San Diego County have been influenza A Pandemic H1N1. The Pandemic H1N1 virus is known to sicken younger people more than others because of a lack of exposure to the virus.

Health officials said the high number of flu cases still being reported in San Diego County means the virus continues to be widespread. It’s not too late to get a flu shot, the HHSA said.

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.

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