Tarrant County Health Reports 5 More Flu-Related Deaths

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The Indiana Department of Health says the number of flu-related deaths has now topped fifty.

The latest deaths bring the North Texas total number of deaths to 57 after Dallas County also declared two flu-related deaths Friday.

In the latest report released from Tarrant County Public Health, which covers the week ending on January 13, the percentage of reported influenza-like illness in the county increased from 8.8 percent during the first of 2018 to to 10.3 percent in the second week. National health officials say 2018 is the first year in more than a decade in which the entire country is grappling with high numbers of flu cases at the same time. North Dakota hospitals and hospitals nationwide are now responding to a spike in flu hospitalizations.

This year, the predominant strain is H3N2, which tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations.

Public Health officials said getting a flu vaccine provides the best protection against the flu. State data shows the number of people testing positive for influenza fell last week, suggesting the flu season could be winding down.

Bay Area hospitals and medical centers have been packed with patients with flu-like symptoms, prompting numerous region's health systems to bring in extra staff, postpone additional elective surgeries and keep urgent care centers open longer than usual to accommodate the surge.

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Still, the flu shot can reduce the severity of symptoms for people who get the flu, she said. The next closest county is Cleveland County, which recorded just 96 hospitalizations this season.

Like every flu season, some die from the flu, but the season hasn't proved more deadly than past years.

"When we have a bad season like what we have now, it's not unexpected we're going to see more deaths", said Dr. Kim Erlich, medical director of infection control at Mills Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame.

Flu symptoms include fever, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, and in some cases vomiting and diarrhea. Many hospitals have recently set up additional treatment areas, including tents, to handle the influx of flu patients. Many also just need comfort after hearing about how unsafe this flu season is, he said.

"The flu is spread by respiratory droplets, so coughing or sneezing", said Rena Evans with the Comanche County Health Department.

"Probably takes 10 days to a couple of weeks to get full immunity from it", says Kulp.

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