County health officials Friday urged area residents to get vaccinated against influenza amid a rising number of cases.
There have been five fatalities due to the flu this year, compared to four at this time last year. Last week, 563 cases were confirmed by laboratory testing, compared to 227 the week before, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
The flu season total is now 1,646, compared to 451 at a similar point last year.
The HHSA said the latest fatality was a 91-year-old man who was already suffering from a medical condition.
“The number of flu cases that are being reported is very worrisome. We urge the public to get vaccinated against the flu,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer.
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.
Flu vaccines are available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies. People without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available at www.sdiz.org or by calling 211.
—City News Service
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