San Diego Records Sixth Flu Death Of The Season
County health officials announced Wednesday that an East County woman died of influenza complications, bringing this season's flu-related fatality count to six.
The 59-year-old woman died Nov. 23, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. There was no indication in her medical record that she had received this season's flu vaccine, and health officials said she had additional unspecified medical issues.
County health officials received reports of 203 lab-confirmed flu cases during the week of Nov. 24-30 and have received reports of 930 confirmed flu cases since flu season tracking began July 1. At this time last year, 455 flu cases had been confirmed and two people had died due to complications from the virus.
Local health officials continued to urge residents to receive a flu shot and noted that Dec. 1-7 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Flu activity tends to kick up during the holiday season due to increased travel and people staying indoors in large groups.
"Influenza deaths are very unfortunate, but they do occur," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "This death serves as a strong reminder of the importance of getting a flu shot."
County health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially in demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions like lung disease and people age 65 or older.
Residents can take precautions against contracting the virus by frequently washing their hands, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and avoiding contact with sick people.
The flu vaccine is available at local doctors' offices, retail pharmacies and the county's public health centers. A full list of locations offering flu shots can be found at the county's immunization website, sdiz.org, or by calling 211 for the county's health hotline.