Flu deaths on the rise in Kentucky, two children dead

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - The Department for Public Health (DPH) reported the first child deaths from the flu for the 2017-2018 season Friday.

36 deaths are reported currently.

“Of the thirty-six flu-related deaths reported so far this season, two of those were children,” said the Acting DPH Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard. “The average age of death of the other thirty-four people who died as a result of flu is 75 years of age.”

This is the fourth consecutive week of widespread flu activity this season.

“The most common flu strain identified in Kentucky and in the 36 deaths is Influenza A, added DPH’s State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jonathan Ballard. “Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu. The flu season typically runs until late spring so it is not too late to get vaccinated.”

After vaccination, it takes about two weeks to develop protection from the flu. Many health plans cover flu shots, and the vaccines are available at local health departments and pharmacies.

49 outbreaks of influenza have also been reported in Kentucky's long-term care facilities.

The DPH makes weekly reports to the CDC national surveillance system.

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