by Photo courtesy of San Diego County

San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported the first influenza death of the 2022 season and saw an increase in cases last week. 

A 55-year-old man from the North Central region of the county who suffered underlying medical conditions succumbed to influenza on Oct. 15. According to the County Health and Human Agency, he tested negative for COVID-19. 

Health officials also saw an increase in influenza cases last week. The County Health and Human Services Agency reported an almost 45 % increase compared to the previous week 591 new infections were reported. 

“Every flu death is tragic and our condolences go out to the man’s family and friends,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Unfortunately, we see influenza deaths every fall and winter and I encourage San Diegans to do their part to stop the spread of illnesses and prevent deaths.”

The county publishes the Respiratory Virus Surveillance Report weekly on Thursday to track respiratory illness indicators, including flu cases and deaths. For the week ending on Oct. 22, the report found a total of 856 lab-confirmed influenza cases, and about 6 % of all emergency department visits were for influenza-like illnesses. 

“Vaccination is the best defense we have against the flu,” Wooten said. “It is still early in the flu season and we are already seeing cases spike, so we have reason to believe that the flu could be extremely disruptive this year. Protect yourself and your family now and get the flu shot as soon as you can.”

The influenza vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies and is covered by medical insurance. People with no health care coverage can get vaccinated at one of the County’s six public health centers or a local community clinic. 

To find the nearest public health center location, visit the County’s Flu Vaccine Locations page or call 2-1-1 San Diego.

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