San Diego flu related deaths reach 57 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego flu related deaths reach 57

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - County health officials Wednesday reported eight more influenza-related deaths in the San Diego region, bringing the "flu season" toll to 57.

Twenty-five people had died of complications from the flu by this time last year. However, this year's current total is in line with the average of the last three at this point, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Those who have died to date ranged in age from 31 to 98. All except three had underlying medical conditions, and most were over the age of 65, according to the HHSA.

Meanwhile, the number of laboratory-confirmed infections dropped last week to 335, from more than 400 the week before.

"The number of confirmed flu cases went down last week in the county, even though reported deaths went up," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "Influenza can cause illness at any time of the year, so people should get vaccinated and take other preventive measures."

So far this year, 4,112 cases of influenza have been reported regionally.

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 at www.sdiz.org or by calling 211.

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