Flu transmission in Santa Clara County is higher than normal for this time of year and has been increasing for the last two weeks, county health officials said Wednesday.
The county has observed increasing flu particle levels in all four of its sewersheds since the beginning of November. Influenza A particles are often found in wastewater of those who are infected, even if they do not have symptoms.
Dr. Sarah Rudman, the county’s deputy health officer, urged residents to get vaccinated against the flu sooner rather than later before flu season gets much worse.
The county is also struggling with increased transmission of COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, the latter of which is particularly dangerous to young children.
“Now is the time, but it is not too late for these interventions to make a difference: getting a flu shot, getting up to date on your COVID booster and using tools like washing hands, wearing masks, keeping sick folks away from healthy ones,” Rudman said Wednesday during a briefing on increasing flu and RSV transmission.
Dr. Vidya Mony, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist and associate epidemiologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, said the county’s inpatient pediatric ward and pediatric intensive care unit have both seen surges of patients with RSV.
COVID infections have also ticked up among children, Mony said, while pediatric flu cases are rising each day and a surge of pediatric flu patients needing hospitalization and intensive care is expected in the coming days.
“One of the things that’s tricky about all three of these diseases — RSV, influenza and COVID, but especially about RSV — is it can run the complete gamut from a very mild illness to a true life-threatening illness,” Rudman said.
COVID and flu vaccines are available to and recommended for everyone ages 6 months and up. Vaccines are particularly recommended for people over age 65, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions like asthma and heart disease, as those groups are more vulnerable to severe illness.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent RSV.
Information about how to get vaccinated against COVID and the flu can be found at https://publichealth.sccgov.org/health-information/immunizations.