Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Election 2020

San Diego County Flu Death Toll Rises To 49

A sign tells customers that they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store is se...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A sign tells customers that they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store is seen in Indianapolis, Sept. 16, 2014.

Another five influenza-related deaths in the San Diego region were reported last week, bringing the "flu season" toll to 49, according to county health officials.

The number of fatalities is far above that of this time last year, when just 11 were reported, but well below the rate of 2015, in which 74 deaths were recorded by now.

The victims have generally been seniors, and most of them already suffered from a medical condition, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

The agency's weekly "InfluenzaWatch" also reported 418 new cases of the illness confirmed by laboratory testing, bringing the season total to nearly 3,800. Again, that's well above last year's mid-February amount of 2,600, but below the 2015 figure of around 5,800.

While health officials continue to urge people to get flu shots, the InfluenzaWatch report noted a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found this year's formula has been effective in preventing the flu for 48 percent of recipients. When isolated for the strain responsible for almost nine in 10 flu cases, the vaccine was effective 43 percent of the time.

The CDC recommended that vaccination efforts continue as long as influenza viruses are circulating, which should be a few more weeks.

The agency suggests annual flu shots 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.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.