SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Five more people died of influenza-related causes in the San Diego region last week, bringing the "flu season" death toll to nine, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported Wednesday.
Their ages ranged from 68 to 95 years, and all had underlying medical conditions, according to the HHSA.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said influenza activity in San Diego continues to be "elevated."
"This flu season is on track to be moderately severe, similar to what we saw in both of the past two seasons," Wooten said. "Vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu. Get your shot today. It's not too late."
Influenza claimed the lives of 70 people in the San Diego region during the 2013-14 season, the highest total since HHSA began tracking the disease. The year before, 65 died.
Agency officials said flu activity in the region usually intensifies in January and February and typically lasts through the end of March or early April.
More than 2,400 cases have been confirmed via laboratory testing. This time last year, the count was over 1,400.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone who is 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 a 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. Those 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.