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Health officials see sharp increase in influenza cases in San Diego County


REGION — The number of influenza cases so far this fall is outrunning last year’s pace by more than 3-to-1, San Diego County health officials reported today.

To date there have been 221 cases reported this “flu season,” with one fatality, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. A total of 71 cases had been reported at the same time last year.

“It’s extremely important that people get vaccinated,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. “Influenza can generate severe complications, including death, especially for people with underlying medical conditions.”

The HHSA is sponsoring several free flu-shot clinics this month.

Locations are available online at or by calling 211 San Diego. The vaccine protects against several flu strains.

Flu vaccines also are available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

The 2016-17 flu season saw 87 fatalities in the county, including two children.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone at least 6 months old. Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at high risk.

Other suggestions for staying healthy include frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.