- Category: Health
- Created on Saturday, 23 February 2013 13:51
San Diego, California - The number of lab-confirmed flu cases in the region declined for a third week in a row, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported. The percentage of emergency department visits due to influenza-like-illness also dropped. However, seven additional deaths were reported.
Based on the latest Influenza Watch report, covering the week ending Feb. 16, 2013, HHSA reported the following:
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 382 (last week’s total revised upward from 718 to 834)
- Influenza-like-illness at emergency departments during the week: 8 percent (11 percent last week)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 40
- Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 4,175
San Diego residents who died with influenza ranged in age from 42 to 99 years and all but one had underlying medical conditions or advanced age. The reported number of flu-related deaths this season is the second highest on record. Fifty-eight deaths were reported during the 2009-2010 flu season.
While flu activity continues to decline, County health officials say it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.
“The flu typically extends through late March or early April,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “People should continue to take preventive measures to avoid getting sick, including getting the vaccine.”
This influenza season has shown widespread distribution and has been moderately severe.
While influenza commonly affects the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and people with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system are also at higher risk for complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months or older, who is not allergic to it, should get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is safe, effective, and available at many locations in the county. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop after getting vaccinated.
The seasonal flu vaccine offers protection against Influenza A H3N2, Pandemic H1N1-like, and Influenza B strains. It is well matched for the viruses that are circulating, and has been determined by the CDC to be 62% effective.
The vaccine is available throughout San Diego County at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. County public health centers have flu vaccine available for children and adults with no medical insurance. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.
In addition to getting the vaccine, there are other precautions people can take to avoid getting sick: wash your hands thoroughly and often, use hand sanitizers, stay away from sick people, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and clean commonly touched surfaces. If you are sick, stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and avoid contact with others.