Two Influenza-Associated Deaths Reported in Denton County

Health officials urge everyone to get a flu vaccine

The Denton County Health Department says two influenza-associated deaths have been reported in Carrollton.

The first death was a female child who had not received a flu vaccine for the season. The second death was a male in his 70s whose vaccination status was not known.  Both patients had underlying health conditions.

Due to patient confidentiality, further information about the patients will not be revealed by the health department.

“We have received reports of increased flu activity recently, and anticipate high activity for the next several weeks,” says Juan Rodriguez, Denton County Health Department Chief Epidemiologist.

The deaths are the first two for the county of the 2013-2014 season.  Anyone who has not yet received a flu vaccine is strongly encouraged to get one.

“It’s not too late to get a flu shot,” says Bing Burton, Denton County Health Department Director.  “Getting vaccinated means you can will help protect yourself from the flu, as well as help protect the health of the community. And the good news is that this year’s vaccine appears to be a good match to the circulating strains.”

Burton said doctors are seeing hundreds of flu cases each week.

“In terms of how serious the cases are they're much more serious this year than in previous years, and we haven't seen the peak yet,” said Burton. “There's no guessing we may not even be halfway there yet!”

Burton says there is a good supply of the vaccine and suggests folks get one as soon as possible.

In Denton County, free flu vaccines are still available at both locations of the Denton County Health Department in an effort to protect citizens. Visit DCHD’s Immunizations website here for more information on the vaccines offered.

On Monday afternoon, the Garland Health Department also reported two flu-related deaths.  Those patients, the GHD said, were both younger than 50 and had no known underlying health conditions.  It is not known if they had received the influenza vaccine.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.

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