40 Flu Deaths in Pa. - Did You Get Your Flu Shot?
Statistics released Tuesday from the state Department of Health show flu cases continue to rise locally and across Pennsylvania.
- January 16, 2013
The number of flu cases in the Lehigh Valley and throughout Pennsylvania continues to climb, according to new state data released Tuesday.
The state health department reported Tuesday that there were another 18 influenza-related deaths last week, bringing to 40 the total number of flu-related deaths this season, through Jan. 12.
The state Health Department website did not indicate any deaths in Lehigh and Northampton counties, nor any pediatric flu-related deaths. However, an infant had died from flu-related complications in early January at Lehigh Valley Hospital, a hospital spokesman confirmed last week.
Most of the reported deaths were among those 65 and older, the state health officials said.
The state Department of Health put the number of confirmed flu cases in the Lehigh Valley at 1,703 as of Jan. 5, up from a total of 1,205 cases. There were 826 cases in Lehigh County and 877 cases in Northampton County from Oct. 2 to Jan. 12.
In Pennsylvania, the number of confirmed flu cases increased to 16,511 since Oct. 2, up from a total of 11,327 cases the previous week. Flu cases have been reported in all the state's 67 counties.
The flu does not peak until mid-January or February, so it is not too late to get a flu shot. To find a place near you to get a flu shot, type your zip code into the Flu Finder site.
Influenza—more commonly known as "the flu"—is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses infecting the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads via infected people coughing, sneezing or talking, though people can also get infected by touching something with the flu virus on it before touching their mouth, eyes or nose.
Symptoms of the flu include muscle or body aches, headache, cough, sore throat, fatigue, fever or chills, and vomiting and diarrhea (the latter two are more common in kids). The flu can also worsen chronic medical conditions or cause death.
Lab-confirmed flu cases represent only a fraction of those with the flu, state health officials say, since most people with the flu -- including those who seek health care -- are diagnosed without lab testing.