SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Health officials Wednesday announced the deaths of two more residents in San Diego County due to influenza-related complications, bringing this flu season's confirmed death toll to five.
A 78-year-old North County woman died earlier this month and a 70-year- old woman died in July, but both deaths were only reported last week, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
Both women, who were not publicly identified, had no record of receiving a flu shot and both had additional medical issues, HHSA officials said.
The HHSA also reported that 122 flu cases were confirmed throughout the county last week, bringing this season's total to 731 cases to date. Only 353 cases had been confirmed at this time last flu season, which the county tracks concurrently with the fiscal year that begins July 1.
``Influenza can be deadly, especially for elderly people, young children and people with compromised immune systems,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. ``Our condolences and sympathy go out to the families of the two women.''
County health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially in demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions like lung disease and people age 65 or older.
Residents can take precautions against contracting the virus by frequently washing their hands, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and avoiding contact with sick people.
The flu vaccine is available at local doctors' offices, retail pharmacies and the county's public health centers. A full list of locations offering flu shots can be found at the county's immunization website, sdiz.org, or by calling 211 for the county's health hotline.