Local flu season death toll reaches 8

Health

SAN DIEGO — County health officials announced Tuesday that the flu season’s death toll has reached eight with the recent death of a 70-year- old San Diego man.

The unidentified victim died Dec. 19 from influenza A Pandemic H1N1, and also had “underlying medical conditions,” according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency.

Flu cases countywide are at nearly double the pace from last year, with 2,456 local flu cases reported in 2019, compared to 1,336 last year.

County officials also said the percentage of people with influenza- like illnesses at local emergency departments nearly doubled this week, and urged residents to take preventative measures in an active flu season.

“Influenza can be life-threatening, especially for the elderly, the very young and people with underlying medical conditions,” acting county public health officer M. Winston Tilghman said. “This is the time of the flu season when cases start to increase. If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now.”

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, sdiz.org, or by calling 211 for the county’s health hotline.

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