Seven more flu-related deaths were reported in San Diego last week, health officials confirmed Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths this season to 21.
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) said influenza activity has dropped from last week across the county. Those who died ranged in age from 45 to 96. The HHSA said each person – except for a 45-year-old woman and an 89-year-old woman – had underlying medical conditions.
By this same time last year, there were a total of six influenza-related deaths reported in San Diego.
Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer, said for those with underlying health conditions, influenza can be deadly. This is why health officials recommend getting a flu vaccine, as it is considered the best protection against the illness.
Health officials recommend an annual flu shot; after the vaccination, it takes two weeks for immunity to develop, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The vaccination is especially recommended for those at high-risk of experiencing complications with the flu, including people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and people age 65 and older.
The HHSA’s latest “Influenza Watch” report, from the week ending on Jan. 14, says 5 percent of all emergency department visits in San Diego were patients experiencing flu-like symptoms.
There were 332 lab-confirmed cases of influenza for the week, down from 437 the week prior.
To date, there have been 2,106 lab-confirmed cases of the flu in San Diego. Last year at this time, there were 784.
Flu season in the U.S. occurs between December and May.
For a list of county public health centers where you can get a flu shot, click here or call 211.