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San Diego's flu season death toll climbs to 42

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Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 15:35:34-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Health officials Wednesday reported seven more deaths in San Diego County due to influenza complications last week, bringing this flu season's death toll to 42.

The seven residents were between the ages of 53 and 90 and all had additional medical issues. Only two of them had been vaccinated, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. At this time last flu season, the county had received reports of 281 deaths due to flu complications.

The county also saw a new weekly high for lab-confirmed flu cases at 545, according to the HHSA's weekly flu report. The county has recorded 5,486 confirmed flu cases so far this flu season, a far cry from the 17,397 reported at this time last flu season. County health officials touted the data in the weekly flu report as evidence that the current flu season may still be cresting.

"Influenza is still widespread in the region and continues to sicken San Diegans," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Anyone who has not yet had a flu vaccine this season should get it now."

County health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people older than 65 and people with chronic conditions. Recent flu seasons have extended as late into the year as May, according to county health officials.

Flu shots are available at doctors' offices, retail pharmacies, community clinics and the county's public health centers. Residents can also call 211 or visit the county's immunization program website, sdiz.com, for a list of county locations administering free vaccines.