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Flu Deaths In Indiana Rise To 15

flu shot

The Indiana Department of Health says the number of flu deaths in the state has risen to 15.

Respiratory Epidemiologist Shawn Richards says influenza cases remain moderately severe across the state. Of the five latest deaths, she says two patients were in long term care facilities.

"Two patients in two separate facilities that were identified as Influenza AH3 and co-infected with Influenza B of which we did receive reports overnight that both those patients have expired," she says.

Richards says they will not identify the facilities or their locations until there have been five deaths connected with them.

"It seems to be that the most common one is the Influenza ‘A’ virus and H3N2 and Influenza 'A'," IU Medical Director Diana Ebling says, explaining the type of flu being seen this year. "The CDC did do a study that when that strain predominates, there do seem to be more deaths in the flu season."

However, the strain of flu causing people to get sick matches well with this year's vaccine, and IU Epidemiologist Barbara Van Der Pol says people can still prevent the virus from spreading.

"Hopefully again by people recognizing the signs and symptoms and seeking treatment early and especially getting vaccinated we can reduce that because we’re thinking about it at the beginning of the season," she says.

The number of flu deaths each year in Indiana typically ranges between seven and 30, according to the state health department.

Network Indiana contributed to this report.

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