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68 People In San Diego County Have Died Of Flu-Related Causes

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Six people died of influenza-related causes in the San Diego region last week, bringing the "flu season" total to 68, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported Thursday.

This year's toll is just two short of last year's count of 70, which was the highest since the agency began keeping flu statistics.

The agency said the victims ranged in age from 51 to 104 and all had underlying medical conditions.

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"Influenza activity in the region continues to be elevated for this time of year," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "While most people make a full recovery from the flu, it can be a critical illness for those who have additional medical complications."

More than 6,100 cases of influenza have been confirmed through laboratory testing during this flu season, compared to over 3,700 at this time last year, according to the agency.

The U.S. 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, senior citizens or live with or care for others at high risk.

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.