San Diego County health officials have recorded a record number of influenza deaths this season and a California deer mouse caught in routine trapping in the Santa Ysabel area has tested positive for hantavirus.
A total of 142 flu deaths have been reported through Jan. 13, 2018, the highest ever since the County began tracking fatalities about 20 years ago, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency this week. The previous deadliest flu season was in 2014-15, when 97 deaths were reported.
Also the number of lab-confirmed cases dropped for the second week in a row from 3,046 to 2,070, a sign that although flu activity is still elevated, it may have peaked.
“Unfortunately, after a high number of flu cases is reported, deaths typically follow,” said Wilma Wooten M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We continue to monitor flu activity in the region to see if cases and emergency room activity will continue to drop and determine whether the season has peaked.”
Health officials remind the public that it’s still not too late for a flu shot.
Health officials also reported the first hantavirus-positive mouse of 2018 in the county.
County officials are reminding people that they should always protect themselves if they find rodents living in their homes, sheds and garages. In particular, they said people should never sweep up or vacuum up rodent nests and droppings if they find them. Officials said people should use “wet cleaning” methods instead if they have to clean, to keep hantavirus from being stirred into the air where it can be inhaled.
Hantavirus is not unusual in San Diego County. However, it is mainly carried by wild mice that do not live in the same spaces with people. The mouse that tested positive was trapped in Inaja Memorial Park in Santa Ysabel.
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