SAN DIEGO–The number of influenza cases in the region continued to decline last week, and five additional flu deaths were reported, the County Health and Human Services Agency said.
The ages of the five flu fatalities ranged from 47 to 77 years of age and all had underlying medical conditions. The new deaths bring this season’s total to 64. In comparison, 339 flu fatalities had been reported at the same time last year.
The number of lab-confirmed cases decreased to 249 cases last week, from 312 cases the week before. To date, a total of 9,012 flu cases have been reported this season, compared to the 20,539 cases that had been reported last year.
Also, the percentage of people with influenza-like illness at local emergency departments went down from 4% to 3% last week.
The most commonly identified flu strain causing local illnesses is now influenza A H3N2, which tends to sicken the elderly and the very young, as well as those with chronic medical conditions. Influenza A Pandemic H1N1 continues to circulate and a low number of influenza B viruses are also being reported.
“While the numbers continue to decline, the flu season is not over yet,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “It is never too late to get a flu shot since influenza cases are reported year round.”
The County Health and Human Services Agency publishes the weekly Influenza Watch report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region.