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San Diego County Flu Death Toll Rises to 24

A boy with the flu takes his temperature at his home in San Diego, Feb. 14, 2...

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: A boy with the flu takes his temperature at his home in San Diego, Feb. 14, 2018.

Complications for the flu resulted in the deaths of eight San Diego County residents ranging in age from 27 to 85 last week, health officials reported Wednesday.

Among the deaths was a 32-year-old North County man without medical issues and a 27-year-old South County man who had additional medical issues. Five of the other six residents who died also had medical issues in addition to the flu. The county did not report if any of them had been vaccinated.

The deaths bring the county's flu season death toll to 24, a far cry from the 174 deaths reported at this time last season. According to the county's weekly flu report for the week of Jan. 13-19, the county has lab-confirmed 3,097 flu cases so far this flu season, compared to 13,644 at this time last year.

County health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people older than 65 and people with chronic conditions.

"Healthy young people should not be dying from influenza. That's why it's so important to get vaccinated," said Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, the county's deputy public health officer. "If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now."

Flu shots are available at doctors' offices, retail pharmacies, community clinics and the county's public health centers. Residents can also call 211 or visit the county's immunization program website, sdiz.com, for a list of county locations administering free vaccines.

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