More Flu-Related Deaths Confirmed in Iowa

"The reporting of these unfortunate circumstances with otherwise healthy people having such bad outcomes will stimulate more people wanting to get their flu shot", he said. In January 2017, 325 people in Mobile County tested positive for the flu.

Adriana Gudinoperez, a patient with flu symptoms, looks up after being given ibuprofen in the emergency room at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange.

Still, the hospital opened a special "flu zone" on Monday where nurses can quickly treat patients with mild influenza symptoms. The predominant influenza strain this year has in past years caused more severe outcomes, especially for the young and elderly with compromised immune systems.

Public Health officials said getting a flu vaccine provides the best protection against the flu.

Last year, 12 states had widespread cases, but this year the flu is widespread throughout the continental United States including Alaska.

The two patients who died were 81 and 17 years old and both from Dallas.

Officials are not releasing the person's name but they said the individual was 65 or older. The health department reported a third death on Friday.

Nationally, more than 40,000 people died each week in the last three weeks of December, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows on its website.

Dr. Neha Nanda, a hospital epidemiologist at USC's Keck Hospital, said the H3N2 virus mutates very quickly, which can mean the vaccine isn't a good match for what's circulating in the community. That's why workers at the Newton County Health Department want to get the word out about their free flu shots. Nearly three weeks later, they have yet to take it down.

  • David Armstrong