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Cases of Flu Deaths Grossly Under Reported

Indiana State Health Officials say influenza does cause death, but it’s hard to tell how frequent it happens. State respiratory epidemiologist Shawn Richards says health officials do not actively record flu cases.

“The problem is that influenza itself is not a reportable disease. Therefore there’s really not a way to track to see how many Hoosiers actually have the flu, ” Richards said.

Richard says it’s also hard for health care providers to know exactly if the flu is the cause or an aggravating factor in another illness. As a result, cases of flu deaths are grossly under reported. Richards says the recommended vaccination list is based on those sects of the population who are more susceptible to be hospitalized with the flu or where the flu is more likely to be an aggravator for another illness or condition. Health care providers across the state have reported higher numbers of flu-like symptoms in the last week, indicating flu season is here and about two weeks earlier than normal.

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