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Two men dead from flu in Iowa

doctor-measuring-blood-pressureDES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced two influenza-related deaths.

The two middle-aged (41 to 60 years of age) males were from central Iowa, the agency announced on its website.

“Our sympathies go to the families and loved ones of the individuals who died,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “These deaths are an unfortunate reminder the flu virus is circulating in Iowa, and does have the potential to cause severe illness and death.”

The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. The most current surveillance shows three states in the nation have the highest estimated influenza activity – Iowa, Oregon and Rhode Island.

A couple of weeks ago, the agency reported that the flu season appears to be off to an early start in Iowa and announced testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL) has identified cases influenza circulating the state. While influenza activity remains at a low level, they said then, the identification of the virus in Iowa should serve as motivation for those who have not yet received their yearly influenza vaccination to do so now.

“The most effective way to prevent influenza illness and death is the yearly flu vaccine,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “Based on CDC estimates, an average of 300,000 Iowans gets the flu every year and together, flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average of 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa.”

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