El Paso flu death toll reaches 11

El Paso flu death toll reaches 11

POSTED: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 3:34pm

UPDATED: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 5:44pm

EP Dep't of Public Health: Nearly 2000 flu cases in city

Officials with the El Paso Department of Public Health announced Thursday that the number of flu-related deaths has now reached a total of eleven, up from four just last week.

According to officials, of the total number who have died due to the flu, six were considered middle-aged (between 31 and 65 years of age.) They went on to say that one patient was a young adult, and four were over the age of 65. Only the young adult had no known underlying conditions.

Lead Epidemiologist Fernando Gonzalez says, “A large number of these cases may be H1N1 but additional testing is often not performed because the treatment of any flu is basically the same."

Gonzalez added, “We know that H1N1 is severely affecting many of those who are infected with that particular strain which is why flu prevention is so important,” he said. 

Health officials say that eight of the 11 cases have tested positive for infection from the H1N1 influenza virus strain. Additionally, a total of 1,800 flu cases have been confirmed in El Paso so far this season. They add that 93% of the flu cases have been identified as type A.

In the department's news release, officials said "It should also be noted that during the investigation of these cases, information revealed that 9 of the 11 individuals did not appear to have been vaccinated against the flu virus. Department officials continue to recommend vaccination as the primary method of defense against the flu virus. It is not too late to vaccinate."

According to University Medical Center, the flu has hit their facility hard. Officials with UMC say their team reports that this "is the worst flu season in the region since the winter of 2008-2009."

UMC officials added,  "We are encouraging everyone who has not yet received their annual flu shot to get vaccinated right away."

For more information on preventing the flu visit: HERE and click on the flu prevention page.

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