A 74-year-old man has died from the flu, making him the first person to die from the flu this season, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced Wednesday.
The man, a Chula Vista resident, died on Aug. 15 from influenza B and had underlying medical conditions, said HHSA.
“Influenza deaths can occur at any time since influenza circulates throughout the year,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., County interim deputy public health officer. “The elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of developing complications from influenza.”
HHSA reports that a total of 77 people died from influenza last season—which ended June 30—and 9,655 lab-confirmed cases were reported. Last season, the first flu death occurred Oct. 15, 2018 and Oct. 1, 2017 the season before that.
Health officials say so far this season, a total of 106 lab-confirmed flu cases have been reported in San Diego County, compared to 26 at the same point last year and 114 the year before that.
Health officials say the season’s influenza vaccine won’t be widely available locally until late September. Although, local pharmacies and clinics have the vaccine available now.
“It’s important to practice good hand hygiene and stay home if you are sick to avoid infecting others,” Sidelinger said. “People should cover their mouth when causing and sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.”