County health officials announced Wednesday that this flu season’s death toll has reached seven with the death of an 86-year-old San Diego woman.
The woman died Dec. 1, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. She had received a flu vaccination and had additional medical issues. At this time last flu season, measured from July 1 to June 30 the following year, only five residents had died due to flu complications.
The HHSA received reports of 294 lab-confirmed flu cases during the week of Dec. 1-7 and have received reports of 1,223 confirmed flu cases since flu season tracking began. At this time last year, only 650 flu cases had been confirmed.
“Influenza can be deadly, especially for people with underlying medical conditions and compromised immune systems,” county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. “Vaccination is the best protection against influenza. The vaccine is safe and effective.”
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.