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posted on January 14, 2014 15:20

Second flu-related death reported in North Idaho

The Panhandle Health District in North Idaho is reporting a second flu-related death today, bringing the state’s total to two so far this flu season.

The death of a Bonner County man in his 50s is the first from flu-related complications in the state’s five northern counties this season. He suffered from ongoing health problems that put him in a high-risk category for complications, the health district reported.

On Dec. 30, the Department of Health and Welfare reported that an adult over the age of 60 from south-central Idaho had died from flu-related complications.

Flu-related illnesses claimed the lives of 35 Idahoans in the 2012-2013 season.

Flu-related illnesses are being reported throughout the nation and state. Most people who get influenza recover after a few days, but some people may develop serious complications and even die. Every year, flu contributes to the deaths of 36,000 people in the United States and causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations. 

The dominant strain of flu being detected is an H1N1 strain that first began circulating in 2009. This strain can affect anyone, but appears to cause more severe respiratory illnesses to young and middle-aged adults than other strains. “The strains included in this year’s vaccines are considered an excellent match for the viruses currently circulating,”  Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Leslie Tengelsen has said. “People should not wait to get vaccinated.”

Everyone older than six months is recommended to get the flu vaccine.  

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that infects 5-20% of people every year. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and sometimes a cough and sore throat. Complications of the flu can lead to more serious illnesses, including death.