Flu season turns deadly
San Diego County saw its first two flu-related deaths this week as case volumes continued to increase, according to the county’s public health service.
Two women, age 88 and 85, died on Jan. 4 and Jan. 6, according to a recent statement issued by the county Health and Human Services Agency.
Through Jan. 3, 919 flu cases have been confirmed this season compared to only 535 one year ago.
The flu killed 70 local residents last season, making it the deadliest on record.
It is not clear whether the flu will be as deadly this year.
Last year, the first death occurred on Dec. 30, 2013, five days earlier than this year. The latest flu report shows a one-percentage point increase in the amount of flu-like illness being detected in local medical facilities and a sharper spike in the number of intensive care unit admissions.
According to the report, the flu had put eight county residents into local intensive care units from Dec. 28 through Jan. 3, twice the number admitted the previous week.
Even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that this year’s flu vaccine is a poor match for the dominant strain in circulation this year, public health officials continue to urge the public to get their shots if they haven’t already.
“These deaths are very unfortunate and remind us that influenza, or flu, can be a serious and deadly disease,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, in a statement.
Both of the two women who died this year were nursing home residents and both had underlying medical conditions, according to the county’s report. One had been vaccinated and the other had not.
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