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New warnings about severity of flu outbreak
Courier Staff Report
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 10:00 AM
Influenza-like illness is on the rise, according to the most recent weekly flu report from the Indiana State Department of Health.
Indiana, along with many other states, is experiencing a high level of influenza-like activity early on this season, with seven deaths being reported since November.
By comparison, no influenza-related deaths had been reported at this time last year.
"We are now well into what appears to be a somewhat severe flu season," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin. "However, it is absolutely not too late to become vaccinated. If you have not been vaccinated this year, I encourage you to get vaccinated now to protect you and your family."
The 2012-2013 vaccine protects against the three most common strains of influenza: H3N2, H1N1, and Influenza B. Health officials say that although cases of H1N1 and Influenza B have been reported, the H3N2 strain appears to be predominant. The 2012-2013 vaccine appears to be a good match for circulating flu strains.
The Jefferson County Health Department still has the flu vaccine available for $20, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The high-dose vaccine, which is only for those 65 or older, also is available. Medicare covers the cost for a high-dose vaccination.
Symptoms of the flu include:
Fever of 100 degrees or greater
The flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months or older. It is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu to become vaccinated.
High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and or compromised immune systems and the elderly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that all health care workers become vaccinated each year to protect themselves and their patients.
For more information about Indiana's 2012-2013 influenza season, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov.
The Jefferson County Health Department can be reached at 273-1942.
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