There were 24 influenza-related deaths in San Diego County last year, the second highest total ever reported in the region, San Diego County health officials announce.
The announcement came as health officials kicked off their annual influenza vaccination campaign in preparation for flu season.
The previous record was established during the 2009-10 flu season, at the height of the H1-N1 outbreak, when 58 flu patients died in San Diego County.
According to the county Health and Human Services Department, the illness kills about 30,000 people annually in the U.S.
County health officials say flu vaccinations can prevent the onset of the disease or lessen its impact.
The vaccine is available throughout San Diego County at doctors offices and retail pharmacies. County public health centers have flu vaccine for children and for adults with no medical insurance.
Other precautions include washing hands thoroughly and often, using hand sanitizers, avoiding sick people, routinely cleaning commonly touched surfaces, and not touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.