This brings the total number of flu deaths in Austin this season to nine.
The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department is confirming the first influenza-associated pediatric death in Austin/Travis County, bringing the total number of flu deaths this season to nine. The child did test positive for the rapid A influenza test. No further testing was done. Additionally, the child had some underlying health conditions.
Similar to the 2009 H1N1 flu season, high numbers of persons with severe illness are being seen in people under 60 years of age with underlying conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, obesity and pregnancy. Thus far, six of the deceased were under the age of 60; three were over 60 and one of the nine was pregnant. Six of the deaths took place in December 2013 and three have died in January 2014. As of today, we have received reports of 58 patients with influenza-like illness receiving treatment in the intensive care units of six area hospitals. For additional influenza information see our website at http://www.austintexas.gov/department/influenza.
Texas is currently among 20 states reporting high influenza-like illness activity. Anyone can get influenza, and serious health problems from influenza can occur at any age. The severity of an influenza season varies from year to year and depends on the strains of circulating influenza viruses, infection rates, and the levels of protective antibody in the population. According to the CDC, flu vaccine prevented an estimated 79,000 hospitalizations in 2012-2013 season.
The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department reminds people to follow these behaviors to avoid flu and other illnesses.
Get a flu vaccine.
Wash your hands often.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands.
If you feel sick, stay home from work or school and contact your primary care doctor.
More information about flu vaccines and general flu information can be found at: