Over 4000 flu deaths reported in Texas

In this file photo, a nurse hooks up an IV to a flu patient at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston. A nasty flu season and fresh insurance deductibles may combine this winter to smack patients around the country with expensive medical bills. (AP Photo/File)

After a brutal season of flu that resulted in over 4000 deaths, doctors in the US state of Texas are beginning to see a bit of relief, according to a new state report. Lara Anton, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) press officer, said that they’ve seen a slight decrease in doctor visits over the past two weeks. “That’s a positive sign but we aren’t sure yet if the season has peaked because we need a few more weeks to really know that,” Anton said.

“Statewide we’ve had 4,153 flu-related deaths this flu season. We get this information from death certificate data, so the information is a few weeks old. The number actuality is going to be higher than that,” DSHS has reported six pediatric deaths in Texas so far. In region seven, which includes Bastrop and Williamson counties, there has been 512 flu-related deaths.

Though the report emphasises that it’s too early to say Texas’ season has peaked, it shows a second consecutive weekly decline in both the rate of hospital and doctor visits for flu-related reasons and the percentage of patient specimens testing positive for the virus. The declines were fairly small. However, the flu season has yet to come to an end.

Health officials are still encouraging people to get vaccinated. The CDC released a report Thursday stating the flu vaccine is 36 per cent effective against all strands. “The good news is for children between six months of age and eight-year-old the effectiveness is much higher overall and 51 per cent against H1N2,” said Anton.

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