A 14-year-old San Diego girl died from influenza last week – the first San Diego child to die from the flu this season – county health officials said Wednesday.
In its weekly flu report, the County Health and Human Services Agency said the teenager died on Feb. 12 from influenza A Pandemic H1N1. She had not gotten a flu vaccine this season and had an unspecified underlying medical condition, officials added.
Last flu season, two pediatric flu-related deaths were reported in San Diego County: a 10-year-old boy and a 1-year-old baby. During the 2016-2017 flu season, there were also two pediatric flu-related deaths in San Diego County.
The teenager is one of five flu-related deaths reported in the county last week, the HHSA said. The other four deaths were men, all with underlying medical conditions, ranging in age from 56 to 82. Only two of the men had been vaccinated.
Up until now, the youngest San Diego resident to die from the flu this season had been a 27-year-old man who died from influenza Pandemic H1N1 on Jan. 9. He too had underlying health conditions, the HHSA said. A 32-year-old San Diego man with no underlying health issues also died last month from influenza A.
Thus far, 35 San Diegans have died from influenza this season. At this same time last year, during an unprecedented spike in flu cases and deaths, a total of 268 locals had died from the flu.
Last week, the HHSA said a total of 539 lab-confirmed flu cases were reported in San Diego County, marking the highest weekly total of this season. Many of those cases were influenza A Pandemic H1N1. The Pandemic H1N1 virus is known to sicken younger people more than others because of a lack of exposure to the virus, health officials said.
Health officials said it is important to get vaccinated as the flu “continues to be widespread.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu shot every year. For those without insurance, county public health centers offer the vaccination.