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County flu cases rise after 2-week slowdown

SAN DIEGO — The number of confirmed influenza cases in San Diego County rose again last week after two weeks of decline.

The county had 708 lab-confirmed flu cases last week, up from 542 the previous week, according to data released by the county Health and Human Services Agency.

“Hopefully the increase in new cases this week was an abnormality in the decreases we’ve been seeing in the past couple of weeks,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “But it’s a good reminder for people that flu season is not over and can last for a few more weeks, so people should continue taking preventive measures and get vaccinated.”

The San Diego region is among those across the country experiencing a particularly strong flu season.

Seven flu-related deaths were reported in the county last week, bringing this season’s total to 289. There were 61 deaths at this time last season.

To date, there have been 18,135 confirmed cases in the county, compared to 4,473 at this time last season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated. It’s not too late to get a flu shot, according to health officials.

Vaccines are available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. Those without insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit http://www.sdiz.org or call 211.