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Dallas County Reports Five New Flu-Related Deaths, Total Now at 23

13 January 2018

Haggie says there are suggestions that one of the four strains of the virus contained in this year's influenza vaccine is less than flawless.

Since flu season started - October 1 - the rate of hospitalizations has been 13.7 per 100,000 people in the U.S. The highest hospitalization rates are among people 65 and older (56.6 per 100,000), followed by adults 50-64 (15.4 per 100,000) and children younger than 5 (9.9 per 100,000), the CDC reported.

The state is reporting the first pediatric deaths for the 2017-18 flu season.

The Iowa Department of Public Information released the information Friday morning.

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The effects of the season are already being seen across the country, with 19 confirmed flu deaths in Alberta and four deaths in London, Ontario. The CDC reported seven more children have died from flu, bringing the season total to 20 so far. H3N2 also mutates quickly, so the "reference strain" included in the flu shot may differ slightly from the H3N2 strain that shows up during flu season, lowering the vaccine's effectiveness. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Those in high-risk groups, including older adults, pregnant women and children, should be especially cautious in the midst of Dallas County's deadly outbreak, said Dr. Christopher Perkins, the county's medical director.

Area hospitals have plans in place to accommodate additional volume if flu cases surge, but visitation restrictions and community education are being deployed in an attempt to prevent an increase in cases.

State health officials say widespread flu cases are being reported in Alabama, but the illness hasn't reached the level of a pandemic.

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"If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible", said Dr. Brendan De Marco, associate director of Infection Control for CommUnityCare Health Centers.

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Frequent hand washing also protects the virus from spreading .

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Dallas County Reports Five New Flu-Related Deaths, Total Now at 23