Flu related deaths higher this year than last in Indiana

There have been 22 flu-related deaths in Indiana so far this year, last year during this time there were only four. Health experts believe the increased number of deaths has to do with the type of Influenza that is circulating.

Posted: Jan 14, 2020 6:46 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2020 11:14 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- There have been 22 flu-related deaths in Indiana so far this year, last year during this time there were only four. Health experts believe the increased number of deaths has to do with the type of Influenza that is circulating. However, they still recommend getting your flu shot.

"In a typical Flu season about 75 percent of the flu cases presenting as type A Influenza and the remaining type B influenza,” said Libby Richards an Associate Professor of Nursing at Purdue. “However, this flu season is wonky in a way because we seeing more Type B cases."

Type B cases aren’t what is normally seen during the flu season. The Type B strain has pros and cons.
"It doesn't cause a pandemic or widespread rapid infection,” added Richards. “However, it does tend to infect children and young adults more frequently."

According to the CDC this year there have been 32 pediatric deaths nationwide, and 21 of those were due to the type B virus. Last year during this time there were 16 pediatric deaths.

The Indiana Department of Health released a report that shows Indiana's flu death numbers are up as well. So far there have been 22 deaths in the state due to Influenza. This time last year there were only four. However, Indiana has not seen any pediatric deaths yet.

"It's likely that we haven't reached the peak of flu season yet,” added Richards. “So we are going to continue to see more flu cases."

Even though Type B influenza is being seen more commonly, health experts say the flu shot can still help fight off the virus.

"If you receive the flu vaccine your chance of severe complications from the flu is drastically reduced,” added Richards.
Professor Richards says the flu shot is still 58 percent effective in fighting Type B Influenza. She recommends getting a good night's rest and eating fresh fruits and vegetables to naturally boost your immune system.

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