Flu death toll rises to more than 300 in San Diego

SAN DIEGO — Thirteen influenza-related deaths reported last week have brought the season’s total to 302 in San Diego County, health officials announced Wednesday.

This has been a particularly severe flu season in the region and across the country. At this time last year, just 68 deaths were reported.

“The increased number of reported deaths is the result of the severe flu season we are having, but is also due to better surveillance methods, which allow the county to more easily identify and classify flu fatalities,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “Flu cases are still occurring throughout the region, so people should continue getting vaccinated and taking other preventive measures.”

There were 602 lab-confirmed cases in the county last week, down from 722 the week before. That brings this season’s total to 18,779, compared to 4,751 at this time last season, according to county data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 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.