SAN DIEGO–Influenza claimed the lives of eight more San Diegans last week, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths this season to 62, the County Health and Human Services Agency reported Wednesday.
“While influenza activity appears to be decreasing, people should continue to take precautionary measures to avoid getting sick,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County public health officer. “Most people recuperate from the flu easily, but in some cases influenza can be deadly.”
The ages of those who have died this season now range from 51 to 99 years and all had underlying medical conditions.
Fifty-eight flu deaths had been reported at this time last year, but the total jumped to 70 for the entire 2013-2014 season, and 65 people died during 2012-2013. These were the deadliest flu seasons since the health agency began tracking the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza.
The CDC has indicated this year’s vaccine is not as good a match for one of the strains, but it is very well matched for the other strains. Partial protection is better than no protection and having the vaccine helps prevent severe illness and hospitalizations.
Because this year’s vaccine was not a good match, County health officials continue to encourage San Diegans to contact their doctor immediately if they start to develop flu-like symptoms so that they can be evaluated for antiviral drugs, which work best if given within 48 hours after symptoms appear.