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Three more flu-related deaths reported in Oklahoma; total toll rises to 17

Since Sept. 30, 17 Oklahomans have died from flu-related complications, according to the state Health Department. A total of 722 flu-related hospitalizations also has been reported in Oklahoma since this year's flu season began in September.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: January 31, 2013 at 9:31 pm •  Published: January 31, 2013

Three Oklahomans from three counties died this past week from flu-related complications, the state Health Department reported Thursday.

One resident was between 19 and 64 years old, and the other two were 65 or older. The Health Department does not provide more specific age statistics.

The deaths were reported in Oklahoma, Tulsa and Stephens counties.

Since Sept. 30, which is regarded as the start of flu season, 17 Oklahomans have died from flu-related complications, according to Health Department statistics.

Meanwhile, 78 flu-related hospitalizations were reported over the past week. So far, 722 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported in Oklahoma since Sept. 30.

The flu continues to cause a lot of illness across the country, and flu-related hospitalization and death indicators have increased sharply in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

County health departments and some doctor's offices and pharmacies offer the flu shot. Health departments offer the flu shot free or at a discounted fee for people who cannot afford to pay.

Symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache and fatigue, according to the CDC.

Oklahoma has seen a decline over the past few weeks in reports of flu-related hospitalizations, deaths and outpatient visits to doctors' offices, said Laurence Burnsed, director of the communicable disease division at the state Health Department.

“The question is — have we seen a peak yet?” Burnsed said. “I think it's a little too early to say we've peaked. We're still in that time of year where we have a widespread level of activity, and influenza activity can fluctuate from one week to another.”

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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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