3 more flu deaths reported in San Diego County

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SAN DIEGO — County health officials received reports of three more influenza-related deaths last week, while overall flu cases decreased for the second straight week.

The three deaths — an 84-year-old man and 62-year-old woman, both residents of San Diego, and a 50-year-old woman from eastern San Diego County — bring the county’s flu death toll to 49, despite sitting at 47 the week prior. According to the county, one previous reported death was found to be unrelated to the flu after further scrutiny.

The three residents who died due to flu complications last week all had additional medical issues, but county officials did not disclose if they had been vaccinated.

Confirmed flu cases fell from a revised total of 574 during the week of March 3-9 to 508 last week, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency’s weekly flu report. The county has confirmed 7,184 flu cases to date this season. At this time last year, the county had confirmed 307 deaths and 19,442 flu cases.

“Influenza activity in the region is still elevated. People should continue taking precautions to avoid getting sick,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “The flu vaccine is safe and effective.”

County health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people older than 65 and people with chronic conditions. Recent flu seasons have extended as late into the year as May, according to county health officials.

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