Pinal County officials: 8 have died from flu, more than 1000 cases


Montgomery County health officials confirmed a man in his 70s died January 9 due to the flu. Penny Borenstein, county health officer, in a news release about the first confirmed death.

At least 16 people in Ventura County have died in flu-related deaths this season, public health officials said Thursday as they urged vaccinations.

The NHS said some people were more vulnerable to becoming poorly in the colder months, including those with long-term conditions like diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A Houston doctor said local hospital beds were at capacity, telling flu sufferers they might be better off staying at home. Doctors say getting vaccinated is the most important thing you can do.

The standard flu shot (which is free for all Canadians) is about half as effective in seniors than in younger adults.

The predominant strain of the virus this season is H3N2, which was also the most common flu type three years ago when Travis County saw 17 deaths.

In the Houston area, almost 42 percent of emergency room visits for flu-related symptoms have been from children, ages 4 and under.

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Houston ISD said nurses have reported 421 cases of students with flu-like illness. "We think we have likely peaked we will know better in a couple of weeks when the lab reports from the holiday season". The most recent statistics that include adults were from the week that ended December 16, when 6.7 percent of deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics were attributed to influenza and pneumonia. "Emergency departments and outpatient clinics are also seeing very high volumes of patients".

"We're definitely seeing a lot more cases of flu and definitely more than a year ago", said Lyndy Stone, marketing director for Shannon Medical Center.

HISD reported 16 students with flu-like symptoms this year, but only one has been confirmed as the flu. After consultation and request from healthcare and public health partners, ADHS is advising ill people to only seek emergency medical care if they are at high risk for serious complications or are experiencing severe symptoms.

Flu shots are still available, she said, however it is too early to determine the shot's effectiveness this season.

READ: Got the flu?