Flu deaths in state surpass last season totals

Flu deaths in state surpass last season totals

State health officials say 16 more people have died in SC after being stricken by the flu.

The level of flu activity in Minnesota has officially been downgraded.

Of the positive flu tests reported by state health officials, 61 percent were influenza B. People who have already had type A flu can still contract type B.

In all, 157 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 3,962.

The flu season started October 1.

The CDC's latest weekly report shows that the percentage of doctor visits for fever, cough and other flu symptoms was the same during the week of February 4-10 as the week before - about 1 in every 13 visits. The flu vaccine is available on a walk-in basis from 8 a.m.to 4 p.m.

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Officials say of these deaths, 85 were among patients older than 65-years-old, while three deaths were reported in individuals under the age of 18.

Other rare complications from the flu that can be fatal include infection of the heart (or myocarditis) which can cause sudden death or heart failure, and infection of the brain (or encephalitis) which can lead to seizures and unsafe swelling of the brain.

The best defense against the flu is to get the flu vaccine.

Besides the elderly, other vulnerable population groups are children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Flu complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, bacterial infections and immune system over-reactions.

Moody and Jhaveri said another strain of the flu could become active, or the now active strain could find its way to vulnerable populations. In the past week, a 6-year-old boy in Colchester died from the flu. A shortage of Tami-Flu is also complicating matters. Although some news sources have reported this year's vaccine is only expected to be 10 percent effect, CDC experts say that is incorrect for the U.S.

That's why some people contracted the flu twice this season.

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