A 27-year-old-man is among eight new influenza-related deaths reported last week in San Diego County, health officials announced Wednesday.
According to the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), the South County man is the youngest local resident to die from the flu this season.
The man died on Jan. 9 from influenza A pandemic H1N1. Health officials said the man, whose name was not released, had unspecified underlying medical conditions.
Also among the latest local flu-related deaths was also a 32-year-old man from San Diego's North County, who died on Jan. 13 from influenza A. Health officials said that man, however, was "otherwise healthy," with no underlying health issues.
"Healthy young people should not be dying from influenza," said Sayone Thihalolipavan, M.D., M.P.H., a county deputy public health officer. "That’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated. If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now."
The six other locals who died from flu-related complications ranged in age from 46 to 85 years old. Officials said five of them had underlying medical conditions.
The new flu deaths bring this season’s total to 24 in San Diego County. In comparison, 174 flu deaths had been reported at the same time last year, according to the HHSA.
HHSA reports the Pandemic H1N1 virus sickens younger people more than others because younger and middle-aged adults have not been exposed to the H1N1 virus as much as older adults. These groups typically have the lowest vaccination rates in the nation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.