San Diego flu related deaths reach 33 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego flu related deaths reach 33

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Influenza has claimed a dozen more lives in the San Diego region, bringing the "flu season" death toll to 33, county health officials reported Wednesday.

The latest fatalities include a victim who was 36 years old, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. Of the overall total, most were elderly and all but two had an existing medical condition.

The toll compares to seven deaths around this time last year.

While the number of fatalities continues to grow, the rate of new infections dropped again. According to the HHSA, 283 new cases were confirmed by laboratory testing, compared to 336 the week before.

"Even though the number of reported flu cases has fallen in the past three weeks, more than one peak can occur in a flu season, which can last through the spring," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "That is why it is not too late to get a flu shot if you have not had one."

In total, almost 2,400 flu cases have been reported, compared to 1,000 at this point last year.

In the 2014-15 flu season, 97 people died.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone at least 6 months old. Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at high risk.

Other suggestions for staying healthy include frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

Flu vaccines are available at doctors' offices and pharmacies. People without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available online or by calling 211.

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