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Two flu-related deaths reported in central Iowa

Posted By KCCI , Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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Officials said the two middle-aged men, age 41 to 60, are from central Iowa. 

Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said their deaths are unusual because of how early it is in the season and that the men weren't that old.

"These deaths are an unfortunate reminder the flu virus is circulating in Iowa, and does have the potential to cause severe illness and death," Quinlisk said.

Officials said the flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. Iowa, Oregon and Rhode Island have the highest influenza activity in the U.S.

The approximately 50 Unity Point clinics and urgent care centers in central Iowa have seen a combined 28 cases of influenza since the first of October, which officials say is not a large amount, considering the state sees about 300,000 cases each year.

Flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average of 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa, based on CDC estimates.

At the Unity Point Clinic in Norwalk, 300 doses of flu shots are on hand, but no flu mist doses. The clinic manager said they usually have about 500 doses this year and hopes to get another delivery within the week.

Quinlisk said there have been outbreaks in eastern Iowa, but influenza has not been widespread.

“But it's coming. And especially now that we've had deaths in central Iowa, the bottom line is the flu is here, and it's going to get worse. If you haven't got your flu shot yet, now's the time to go get it,” she said.

Flu numbers can spike after the holidays begin. Quinlisk said not to wait to get vaccinated. If you get vaccinated in the next few days, you'll have good immunity by Thanksgiving.

Vaccinations are recommend for everyone 6 months of age and older and especially for those who have regular contact with people more vulnerable to the complications of flu, including babies, children with asthma and the elderly.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Learn more at http://www.flu.gov

Tags:  Flu  flu shots  prevention  treatment  urgent care 

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