Flu Season Brings More Lab-Confirmed Cases than Previous Years
December 27, 2017
A very high number of lab-confirmed flu cases reported throughout San Diego County has lead health officials to once again urge people to take preventative measures to avoid contracting this disease.
During a press conference held at the County Administrative Building in downtown San Diego, held on Friday, Dec. 22, County Health Officers spoke about cases recorded up to that date.
During the briefing, over 1,600 cases had been reported in San Diego County, a dramatic rise compared to the 451 cases reported last year at about the same time of year.
Officials also announced that, at the time, five people had died from complications caused by the flu during the current season.
“The number of flu cases that are being reported is very worrisome. We urge the public to get vaccinated against the flu,” County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said to the media during the Dec. 22 address.
However, on Dec. 27, County health authorities revealed a sharp increase in the number of both lab-confirmed flu cases and deaths caused by this viral disease.
Through its weekly Influenza Watch release, the County Health and Human Services Agency revealed that in the lapse of one week there had been a great increase in confirmed cases and deaths caused by this disease.
Data collected through the week of Dec. 23, shows that 2,227 new flu cases were officially detected, compared to 563 lab-confirmed cases last week, representing an increase of nearly 400 percent in one week.
In total, lab-confirmed influenza cases have been tallied at 3,873 during this flu season, a very high increase compared to last year’s count of 599 up to the same date.
Data also shows that influenza-like symptoms accounted for 7 percent of all emergency department medical visits, compared to 5 percent last week, and that the total influenza deaths to date total 11, compared to a total of four up to the week of Dec.16.
FLU SHOTS RECOMMENDED
The alarming numbers recorded during the current flu season have lead health officials to urge local residents once again to vaccinate themselves against the flu.
“The number of flu cases that were reported last week is the highest in a single week that we have seen in recent years. We urge the public to get vaccinated against the flu,” said Sayone Thihalolipavan, County deputy public health officer.
Flu vaccines are available throughout San Diego County at retail pharmacies, County public health centers, and doctors’ offices.
As is commonly advised, health officials recommended anyone six-months or older be vaccinated, especially pregnant women, senior citizens, and people with chronic health conditions.
About 166 million flu vaccines are projected to be available this season throughout the United States.
PREVENTION IS KEY
Preventing the spread of the influenza virus is simple with the right precautions.
Health experts recommend cleaning surfaces with lots of traffic, washing hands thoroughly and often, staying away from sick people, and avoiding contact with the eye, nose, and mouth.
People who are sick are advised to stay at
home and to avoid contact with others if possible.