DES MOINES, Iowa – The Department of Public Health is reporting four new deaths related to the flu.
The most recent victims are two women in southeast Iowa, a woman in northeast Iowa, and a man in northwest Iowa. Three of the victims were over 81 years old and the other was between 61 and 80. Three of them also had underlying medical conditions or other factors that contributed to their deaths.
This raises the number of influenza-related deaths in the state since October 2017 to six.
“These deaths are a sad reminder that influenza hits the very young, very old and those with weakened immune systems especially hard,” said State Epidemiologist and IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “While it’s important that these individuals get the flu vaccine, it’s equally important that young and healthy Iowans be vaccinated so they don’t spread the flu to others who may be at higher risk.”
Doctors in Iowa are not required to notify state officials every time a case of the flu is diagnosed, but Department of Public Health checks on how widespread the illness is, where it is occurring in the state, and what flu strains are circulating.