SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - A 17-year-old girl has died of influenza-related complications, the first pediatric fatality in the San Diego region this year, county health officials reported Wednesday.
The teen, who lived in the inland North County area, already suffered from a medical condition when she was stricken with the flu, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. She died Feb. 25, but the death was only reported to county health officials last week.
The season's total flu-related death toll in the county is now 72, compared to 68 last year. The ages of people who died this year have ranged from 17 – 98 years old. All except three had underlying medical conditions and most were over the age of 65.
Last year included a 9-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl.
"Influenza deaths are very unfortunate, but a teen dying from the flu is especially tragic," said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer.
"Many people may have spring vacations coming up, and you should get vaccinated at least 2 weeks before your trip."
For the week ending March 18, 2017, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report showed the following:
- Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3 percent of all visits (4 percent the previous week)
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 200 (compared to 277 the previous week)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 72 (compared to 57 at this time last season)
- Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 4,944 (compared to 5,437 at this time last season)
How to Prevent the Flu courtesy of the County News Center
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
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years and older
- 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
- If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others
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.