By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
Six additional influenza deaths were reported last week, bringing this season’s total to 30, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.
The ages of the new fatalities ranged from 40 to 76 years old. All had underlying medical conditions and only one is known to have gotten a flu vaccination.
“Influenza deaths are very unfortunate, but they do occur” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “People should continue to get vaccinated as the flu season is not over yet.”
The County Health and Human Services Agency publishes the weekly Influenza Watch report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region. All other indicators are at expected levels for this time of year.
For the week ending Feb. 9, 2019, the Influenza Watch report shows the following:
•Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 5 percent of all visits (the same as the previous week).
•Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 488 (compared to 446 the previous week).
•Total influenza deaths to date: 30 (compared to 250 at this time last season).
•Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 4,423 (compared to 16,097 at this time last season).
Your Best Shot Against the Flu
The 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.
Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:
•People with chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control;
•People 65 years and older; and
•People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk.
In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:
•Wash hands thoroughly and often;
•Use hand sanitizers;
•Stay away from sick people;
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
•Clean commonly touched surfaces; and
•If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, community clinics, 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.
José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact