Health officials: 48 Oklahomans have died from the flu

Posted March 03, 2017

During the 2012-2013 season, people who got a high-dose vaccine were 36 percent less likely to die in the 30 days following hospitalization or an emergency department visit that included a flu diagnosis compared to the standard-dose vaccine, the researchers found. H3N2 influenza viruses, which are usually associated with higher mortality in older adults, were predominant during that season.

In the latest statewide victim totals, there were 11 deaths reported in the 65 and older age group, six in the 50-to-64 age group and two in the 25-to-49 age group.

Some county health directors do not publicly report flu deaths, citing patient privacy policies or state DHHS directives.

Oklahoma County has seen five deaths and 272 hospitalizations related to the virus. The recent CDC report noted that the flu hospitalization rate for USA senior citizens is 155.2 per 100,000, higher than for any other age group.

But Chief Medical officer Paddy Phillips says the spike does not necessarily mean this year's flu season will be a cause for concern.

The other outbreaks were in nursing homes, she said.

"The flu virus can be extremely unsafe to people who have compromised immune systems, cancer, kidney disease and other chronic conditions", said Dr. David Priest, medical director for infection prevention at Novant Health. Some people who get the flu shot may still get the flu, but typically symptoms will be milder. If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. The flu vaccine can be administered to anyone 6 months of age or older.

To make a flu vaccination appointment, call a local Essentia Health Clinic or 218-828-7100.