NEWS 8 (COUNTY NEWS CENTER) - With no new flu deaths being reported in the past week, the final Influenza Watch report for this season shows the number of fatalities remains at 341 and 20,747 flu cases have been reported, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.
Because the County monitors influenza year round, those totals could change from now through June 30 when the 2017-18 flu season officially ends.
The ages of San Diegans who died from influenza this season range from 1 to 101, and almost all had underlying medical conditions. Forty-four (13 percent) of the 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. The high number of deaths is the result of an unusually severe flu season, but also due to better reporting and tracking by the local medical community and the County.
Last week, 96 lab-confirmed flu cases were reported, a decrease from the 101 the previous week. Patients with flu-like symptoms accounted for 1 percent of emergency department visits. The number of cases and emergency department visits are at expected levels for this time of the year.
“While we’re glad to see cases declining, we know that they are reported year round,” said Wilma Wooten M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “It is important that people get a flu shot every year, as strains may change each year.”
For the week ending April 28, 2018, the County Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:
- Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 1 percent of all visits (compared to 2 percent the previous week)
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 96 (compared to 101 the previous week)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 341 (compared to 86 at this time last season)
- Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 20,757 (compared to 5,484 last season)
Your Best Shot Against the Flu
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.
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 San Diego.