Flu cases more than double last season’s count

SAN DIEGO — Lab-confirmed flu cases rose countywide last week for the third consecutive week, health officials announced Wednesday.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported that 139 flu cases were confirmed throughout the county last week, bringing this season’s total number of flu cases to 614 to date. Only 247 cases had been confirmed at this time last flu season, which the county tracks concurrently with the fiscal year from July 1 to June 30 the following year.

Although flu activity is high, deaths have been limited to this point. Three residents have died due to influenza complications since the flu season began compared to two at this point last season.

“Given the numbers that we’re seeing, it’s evident that more San Diegans are getting sick,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “And with the holidays upon us, those figures are likely to continue to increase since people will be out and about in large groups.”

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¬†or by calling 211 for the county’s health hotline.

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