38-year-old man among 5 more flu deaths in San Diego County

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego County health officials Wednesday reported five more influenza deaths in the region, bringing this flu season’s death toll to 16.

One of the five was a 38-year-old man with underlying medical issues; his vaccination status was unclear. The other four also had chronic illnesses and only one had received the flu vaccine, according to the county.

“Influenza deaths are very unfortunate but serve as a reminder that the flu can be deadly, especially for the very young, the elderly and those with existing chronic conditions,” said Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, the county’s deputy public health officer. “The best way to prevent getting influenza is getting vaccinated.”

According to the county’s weekly flu report for the week of Jan. 6-12, there have been 2,623 lab-confirmed flu cases this flu season. In comparison, the county had tracked 12,484 flu cases and recorded 142 deaths at this time last flu season.

County health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially those with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people older than 65 and people with chronic conditions.

County residents can get vaccinated 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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