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Five Oklahomans die from the flu

So far this flu season, which began in September, five Oklahomans have died from the flu, and 242 residents have been hospitalized.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: January 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm •  Published: January 9, 2014

Five deaths in Oklahoma have been attributed to the flu, the state Health Department confirmed Thursday.

State Health Department officials said the victims were in Kay, Le Flore, Osage, Pittsburg and Tulsa counties.

Two people who died were between 18 and 49 years old, and two others were between 50 and 64. The other person who died was 65 or older.

These five flu deaths are the first confirmed deaths this flu season in the state. The residents died sometime after Sept. 29, and then were later confirmed through the state Health Department to have died from the flu.

Meanwhile, 91 people were hospitalized because of the flu last week. A total of 242 Oklahomans have been hospitalized because of the flu since Sept. 29.

The state's flu season started in September and generally runs until April or May.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that's caused by influenza viruses and can cause mild to severe illness, according to the CDC. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death.

In Oklahoma County, 40 people have been hospitalized because of the flu, which equals five people per 100,000. Tulsa County has seen a higher rate of people hospitalized, with 59, a rate of almost 10 people per 100,000 residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that flu activity is increasing nationally and is high in some states. Oklahoma is one of 20 states experiencing high flu activity.

Kendra Dougherty, an epidemiologist at the state Health Department, said the majority of confirmed cases in Oklahoma have involved the influenza A virus.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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