Flu now blamed for 11 deaths in Indiana

File photo.

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE)  The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced Friday that there have been 11 flu-related deaths in the state during this flu season.

Six of those deaths were reported in St. Joseph County which is northwest of Fort Wayne.  No other Indiana county has had more than one death.  Health officials do not report counties where deaths have occurred unless there have been more five or more.  All but one of the deaths were associated with persons between the ages of 25 and 64.

“Hoosiers cannot become complacent when it comes to the flu,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “I strongly recommend all Hoosiers get vaccinated if you haven’t done so yet. Flu is very unpredictable.”

The ISDH  is recommending vaccinations for anyone 6 months of age or older and believes it is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu to get vaccinated. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems and the elderly.

There are two vaccine combinations available for the 2013/14 flu season. The trivalent vaccine offers protection against the three most common strains of influenza: H3N2, H1N1, and one type of Influenza B. A new quadrivalent vaccine was released this year and includes a second Influenza B strain. The H1N1 strain appears to be predominant thus far in the 2013/14 flu season.

Flu vaccine can typically be found at local health departments, pharmacies and with health care providers. A flu vaccine locator tool can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov.

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