(Indianapolis, Ind.) – There have been 40 deaths related to influenza in the Hoosier State since November, the Indiana State Department of Health reported Wednesday.
The number is an increase from 27 deaths reported on January 17. Of the 40 deaths that have occurred in Indiana, 38 of them have been individuals who had an underlying medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, or something else. Thirty-three of the deaths have been with the victims age 65 or older. Two others were in people younger than 18.
State health officials continue to urge everyone age six months and older – unless they have it already - to receive the flu vaccination.
“While everyone should get their flu vaccine, individuals with underlying medical conditions are clearly at high risk this season and absolutely need to be vaccinated,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. William C. VanNess. “Flu activity remains high and we simply don’t know if it has peaked yet. Continue to wash your hands often, cover your cough and stay home if you are sick.”
While it may not completely prevent the flu, the vaccine has been found to be 62 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine protects against the most common strains of the influenza: H3N2, H1N1 and Influenza B.
For more information about Indiana’s 2012-2013 flu season, visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at www.StateHealth.in.gov.