4 more San Diegans die from flu

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SAN DIEGO — While countywide influenza cases have declined, county health officials announced Thursday that they received reports of four more flu deaths last week.

The four people all had additional medical issues and were between the ages of 69 and 90 years old, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. This flu season’s death toll is now at 59, well shy of the 333 flu deaths the county confirmed at this time last flu season.

Confirmed flu cases dropped by nearly half, from a revised 556 cases the week before to 313 cases last week. The county has now confirmed 8,764 flu cases this season, the majority of which have been influenza A H3N2, which largely affects seniors and very young people. County health officials have also received reports of influenza A Pandemic H1N1 and influenza B.

“While influenza appears to be waning, it is still important for people to continue taking precautions to avoid getting sick,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “The best protection against the flu is getting vaccinated.”

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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