A 9-year-old has died from influenza B, marking the second pediatric death resulting from the flu in San Diego County this season, County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials said.
The boy, who had underlying medical conditions, died March 26, bringing the total of reported influenza-related deaths to 56. Last week, a 16-year-old teen with underlying medical conditions died as a result of the flu, HHSA officials said Wednesday.
“A child dying from influenza is tragic,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Our sympathy and condolences go out to the family for their loss.”
Five other flu deaths were reported in the week ending March 26.
That figure is significantly less than the 91 flu deaths reported at this same time last year, the HHSA says. The ages of those who have died from the illness this season range from 9 to 98 years old. The HHSA says seven of those people had no known underlying medical conditions.
Officials previously said they believe that flu season peaked in mid-March.
Last week, the HHSA says the number of lab-confirmed flu cases throughout the county tallied 281 – down from the 395 reported last week. To date this season, there have been 5,599 lab-confirmed cases in the county, compared to 6,612 last season.
The HHSA says six percent of all emergency department visits last week in San Diego were patients experiencing influenza-like illness.
Wooten says people should still get vaccinated and take other precautions to avoid getting sick, including frequent and thorough hand-washing and staying away from anyone who is ill.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months and older get a flu shot every year.
The CDC says vaccination is especially important for those at high risk of developing complications from the flu, including people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people age 65 and older or people who live or care for others who are at higher risk.
The flu vaccine is available at doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Those without health insurance can get the vaccine at a public health center. Call 211 or visit the 211 San Diego website for more information.