The first two flu-related deaths of the season have been reported in San Diego County, health officials said Wednesday.
The residents were an 88-year-old woman, who died on Jan. 4, and an 85-year-old woman, who died on Jan. 6, according to a news release from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
Both women had underlying medical conditions.
Despite a surge in influenza this season, these deaths actually occurred later than last year, when the first death was reported on Dec. 30.
Influenza caused the death of 70 San Diego residents last fall and winter – the highest number since county health officials began tracking the illness.
Still, health officials said influenza this winter is spreading and sickening San Diegans at a faster rate than last year’s flu season: there have been 263 confirmed cases to date, more than double last year’s number.
Nationwide, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has described this flu season as an “epidemic.”