02/14/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/14/2018 13:04
The number of influenza deaths in San Diego jumped to 251 after 20 more fatalities were reported last week, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.
The ages of the people who have died from flu this season range from 1 to 101. Thirty-three (13 percent) of these deaths were of people under 65 years old, which are the only cases public health agencies are required to report in California. The County informs the public about all flu deaths.
'Influenza activity continues to be widespread and, unfortunately, more people are dying from the flu,' said Wilma Wooten M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. 'People should continue getting vaccinated and taking other preventive measures to prevent getting sick.'
Wooten explained that the predominant strain circulating this season has been influenza H3N2. This strain of influenza has a more severe impact in the elderly and the very young.
While the region and the country are experiencing a severe flu season, the high number of deaths identified here is also due to the County's broad surveillance and use of reporting systems that provide fast and detailed results.
The number of lab-confirmed flu cases had declined for several weeks, but began to increase two weeks ago due in part to a surge in influenza B, which now accounts for nearly half of the cases. Influenza B reports increased to 448 last week from 335 the week before. This season's flu vaccine offers protection against influenza A H3N2, pandemic H1N1-like and influenza B strains.
Also, the number of people who showed up at local emergency departments with influenza-like symptoms continued to decline last week, dropping from 6 to 5 percent of all visits.
For the week ending Feb. 10, 2018, the County Health and Human Services Agency' Influenza Watch report shows the following :
It's Not Too Late for a Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.
CDC also recommends that people should prevent the spread of germs and take antivirals when prescribed by a doctor. Some local pharmacies may be out of specific medications, but there is no national shortage of antivirals. Sick people should call around if their local pharmacy is out and send a family member or friend to pick up the medications to avoid exposing others to the virus.
Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:
In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:
The flu vaccine is available at doctors' offices and retail pharmacies. If you don't have medical insurance, you can go to a County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.