San Diego

73-Year-Old Woman Dies of First Flu-Related Death in San Diego County

This death marks the first flu-related death in San Diego County for this flu season.

A 73-year-old woman has died of the flu, marking the first flu-related death of the season, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

The woman was not vaccinated for the flu, and had previously been diagnosed with medical conditions, said county health officials. She tested positive for influenza A and after being hospitalized briefly, she died Wednesday morning.

The first flu death to occur last season happened Oct. 28. This was followed with the deaths of 67 other San Diego County residents, including two children, said county health officials.

"This is one of the earliest deaths from seasonal influenza ever reported in the county," said Sayone Thihalolipavan, M.D., M.P.H., County deputy public health officer, in a statement.

Compared to 68 cases last year, there's been sixty lab-confirmed cases of influenza reported at the same time this year, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

"The seasonal influenza vaccine is widely available and we urge everyone six months of age and older to get it before flu activity increases," said Thihalolipavan.

Influenza activity is currently considered low on a nationwide scale, despite outbreaks in limited areas, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Now, the current vaccine protects against pandemic H1N1, influenza A and B H3N2 strains. The CDC encourages everyone six months and older to get vaccinated for the flu each year. 

It's especially important for high-risk people, who are more likely to develop serious complications, such as people with medical conditions, pregnant woman and anyone age 65 and older, according to the CDC.

"The best protection against the flu is to get vaccinated, and the time to do it is now," Thihalolipavan said.

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

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