Six dead from flu in Travis County

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by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News and JESSICA VESS / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @JessicaV_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 10 at 4:51 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin-Travis County Health Department is confirming another flu death, raising the total this season to six.

Officials say the actual number may be even higher than what's been reported because hospitals are not required by Texas law to report flu deaths unless the patient is under 18 years of age.

The infection is widespread across Texas. Officials at the state's Health Department say the intensity level is high, and there are cases in all regions of the state.

Dallas County has confirmed 17 adult flu deaths since late December. Denton County reported two deaths. At last check Williamson County had one death.

The predominate strain is H1N1, also known as the swine flu. Texas health officials say at least two children have died from the flu this season, including one child in the Houston area and another in South Texas.

The emergency room at Scott & White Hospital Round Rock has seen an increase in patients seeking treatment for flu-like illnesses; most of them have swine flu. It's the same strain of flu that killed nine people in Travis County in 2009.

"What we found in 2009 and what we found this year, for whatever reason, this strain of flu can effect some younger people very severely," said Dr. Ross Tobleman, ER medical director at Scott & White Hospital Round Rock.

People who are 50 years or older, pregnant women, those with chronic medical conditions, and children are the most at risk and are urged to get a flu shot.

Go here for tips on avoiding the flu.

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