First flu-related infant death this year reported in San Diego County

51 local deaths reported this season

SAN DIEGO - San Diego County officials on Wednesday reported the first influenza-related infant death this year in the region.

The death last month of the 10-month-old victim was investigated by the county Medical Examiner's Office because the unidentified child had underlying medical conditions, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Most of the 51 deaths reported during "flu season" have been among elderly patients, and all but one were beset with other medical problems at the time, according to the agency. The total number of fatalities is the region's second worst on record.

"Sadly, there are influenza deaths every year," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Unfortunately some of these deaths occur in children."

The total number of lab-confirmed influenza diagnoses by the end of last week in San Diego County was 5,046, the HHSA reported.

Wooten said it isn't too late to get a flu vaccine.

The people at highest risk for complications from the flu include the elderly, pregnant women, infants and people with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes or a compromised immune system.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccine every year unless they're allergic to it. The HHSA said it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop after getting vaccinated.

The vaccine is available throughout San Diego County at doctor offices and retail pharmacies. County public health centers have flu vaccine available for children and adults with no medical insurance.

In addition to getting the vaccine, the HHSA recommends that people wash their hands thoroughly and often, use hand sanitizers, stay away from sick people, avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth, and clean commonly touched surfaces. Those who are sick should stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and avoid contact with others.

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