Second Douglas County flu death reported

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"The state of North Carolina has declared the flu widespread and we are seeing a greater number of cases this year compared to last year at this time".

The past week saw another sharp increase in confirmed influenza cases across Pennsylvania and two additional flu-associated deaths, according to data released Tuesday by the state Health Department.

The Department of Health says the best way to prevent or lessen the effects of the flu is by being vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Hartzler, an infectious diseases specialist with UT Health San Antonio, said that this seems like an average year for flu nationally. But the most important precaution, he said, "is to get your flu shot".

During this season, there has been one death in Franklin County and another in Yakima County.

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The people who are most at risk of contracting the flu or flu-like illnesses are children and seniors 65 and older.

In the Columbia Gorge, 134 people tested positive for flu out of 314 who reported influenza-like illnesses.

"Flu is sometimes a serious illness in someone who's healthy, but it can be especially unsafe for hospitalized patients with underlying illnesses", said URMC epidemiologist Paul Graman.

The Influenza virus is serious and is generally more severe than the common cold and the population is urged to take it serious and to seek medical help early where the flu is suspected.

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