Flu season now blamed for 60 deaths in Dallas County

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Among the children lost this flu season is 15-year-old Kira Molina of Georgia, who passed away on January 30.

Last months, churches across ME took the unusual step of suspending traditional rituals such as sharing communion wine and shaking hands to try to prevent the spread of flu.

"It's not too late to get the flu vaccine", said Acting State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris.

"Older adults, individuals with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children and infants are more vulnerable to flu illness", said Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS health authority/medical director.

At highest risk for the flu, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and children.

It is recommended those who are six months and older get a flu vaccine prior to the end of October, but you can still get the vaccine later in the season, which can offer you protection.

"We appreciate the cooperation of our patients and visitors with these temporary measures, which are highly effective steps toward reducing the spread of the flu in our communities", said Julie Bryan, RN, CIC, infection prevention coordinator for UM Shore Regional Health.

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Roz Hutchinson, a spokeswoman with Via Christi, said the hospital does not release information to the public regarding pediatric flu deaths.

Masterson's death is one of more than 53 children to have died from the flu this season, which has been labeled the worst flu season since the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic.

Bassett says the vaccine has been 30 percent effective in the past.

"In my personal experience, there's a strong correlation to, if you suddenly feel like you got hit by a truck, you probably have the flu". It is likely that there are many more people actually affected than the report shows. At the ADH lab, there were 7 positive influenza A subtype H3N2, 2 positive influenza A subtype H1N1, 6 positive influenza B subtype Yamagata; 2 samples tested negative that week.

Dawson said the flu shot remains the best defense. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

"People don't understand what a killer flu really is and tend to be lackadaisical about getting vaccinated". He also wants to point out, several deaths have been from patients who were sick with more than just the flu. If you haven't gotten a flu vaccine yet, do so.

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