SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Twenty more San Diegans have died as a result of the flu this season, bringing the region's death toll to 251.
Those who have died as a result of the flu this season have ranged in ages 1 to 101. At the same time last season, only 44 people had reportedly died of influenza in the county.
"Influenza activity continues to be widespread and, unfortunately, more people are dying from the flu," Wilma Wooten, San Diego County's public health officer, said. "People should continue getting vaccinated and taking other preventive measures to prevent getting sick."
According to Wooten, the most common strain of San Diego's flu season has been influenza H3N2, which typically has a greater impact on the elderly and very young.
Flu season generally starts in midwinter and lasts through early spring - late March to early April.
The last recorded week, ending Feb. 10, saw 941 new influenza cases reported in San Diego County. So far this season, there have been more than 16,000 reported cases of the flu in the region. At the same time last season, there were nearly 3,400 reported cases.
Local health officials said while the number of lab-confirmed flu cases appeared to decline for several weeks, cases spiked once again a couple of weeks ago with a surge in influenza B cases.
The number of cases recorded at hospitals showing influenza-like symptoms also decreased once again, from six to five percent of all visits.
Officials are also urging San Diegans to get an influenza vaccination to combat the flu. The vaccine covers influenza H3N2, pandemic H1N1-like and influenza B strains.
As always, take precautions this season by following steps to avoid catching the flu:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often,
- Use hand sanitizers,
- Stay away from sick people,
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth,
- Clean commonly touched surfaces, and
- If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.