MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 16, 2014

State Health Department says 12 have died from flu


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Seven influenza-related deaths have been reported in Oklahoma during the past week, bringing the number of deaths due to flu to 12 since the flu season began, the Oklahoma Department of Health reported Thursday.

Statistics posted on the agency’s website indicate that in addition to 12 deaths, flu has forced the hospitalization of 399 people in the state. A week ago, Oklahoma had only five recorded flu deaths and 242 hospitalizations since Sept. 29.

The statistics indicate three of the flu deaths in the state occurred in Tulsa County and two occurred in Comanche County. The counties of Cleveland, Kay, Le Flore, McClain, Okmulgee, Osage and Pittsburg each reported one flu death.

The department says one of the victims was under the age of four, four were between the ages of 18 and 49 and four others were between 50 and 64 years old. Three of the victims were 65 years old or older.

Tulsa County had the highest number of people hospitalized with flu symptoms with 104, followed by Oklahoma County with 60 people hospitalized, according to the Health Department’s website.

The agency said influenza-like illness is defined as having a fever in excess of 100 degrees combined with a cough or a sore throat. Health officials said most of the confirmed flu cases have involved the H1N1 virus, the same virus that caused the 2009 flu pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Oklahoma is among almost 40 states where the prevalence of the contagious disease is considered widespread. Oklahoma had only three recorded flu deaths by this point of the 2012-2013 flu season.