5 more flu deaths reported in county

SAN DIEGO — Five more flu-related deaths were documented last week in San Diego County, though the number of influenza cases decreased countywide for the third consecutive week, health officials announced Wednesday.

The five residents who died due to flu-related causes ranged in age from 47 to 77 years old. All five had additional medical issues, as well, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency.

The deaths bring the county’s flu season death toll to 64; flu deaths at this time last season totaled 339.

Confirmed flu cases dipped to 249 last week from a revised total of 312 cases during the week prior. The county has confirmed 9,012 flu cases throughout this flu season, with 87.2 percent of those cases being influenza A H3N2. At this time last flu season, the county had confirmed 20,539 cases.

“While the numbers continue to decline, the flu season is not over yet,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “It is never too late to get a flu shot since influenza cases are reported year round.”

County health officials and the 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 older than 65 and people with chronic conditions.

Flu shots are available at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, community clinics and the county’s public health centers. Residents also can 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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