Iowa flu-related deaths on the rise

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa authorities say at least 25 influenza-related deaths have occurred since Oct. 2, including 11 reported to the state last week.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said in a news release Friday, Feb. 3, that all but one of the people who died had underlying conditions or contributing factors.

The department says the deaths included 19 people 81 and older and two people 61 through 80.

Genesis Medical Center and UnityPoint-Trinity in the Quad Cities are continuing to ask visitors to voluntarily limit their visits if they believe they are sick due to widespread flu activity.

There’s still time for a flu shot. The department medical director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, says the flu vaccine takes a few days to reach its maximum protection level, so waiting too much longer will mean diminished protection during the peak of the season.

“What is different this year is that we are seeing all four strands of the flu at the same time in Iowa,” said Dr. Quinlisk to WHO. “The good news is that the vaccine covers all four and it’s a good match.”

Flu is a viral respiratory illness with symptoms that include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

CLICK HERE to view the CDC’s weekly flu update