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Indiana death toll for flu rises to 56

Statement as issued Friday by the Indiana State Department of Health:

INDIANAPOLIS – Influenza continues to show widespread activity in Indiana, according to the latest weekly influenza report from the Indiana State Department of Health. Fifty-six Hoosiers have now died as a result of influenza-like illnesses; four of those were younger than 18 years.

“Tragically, we are continuing to lose lives due to flu-related illnesses in the state,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “We still have a few months left in this flu season. These deaths and the cases of flu we are seeing around the state are a reminder that flu can be serious and every one of us has a responsibility to take steps to prevent its spread.”

Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months of age or older. It is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu and their family members to get vaccinated. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems and the elderly.

A flu vaccine locator can be found at www.StateHealth.in.gov. Flu vaccine can usually be found at local health departments, pharmacies and with health care providers.

Symptoms of influenza include: high fever, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches and sore throat. Health officials encourage anyone experiencing these symptoms to contact their health care provider immediately.

Thorough and frequent hand washing, covering your cough with a tissue or your sleeve and staying home when you are sick, can all help reduce the spread of the flu.

For more information about Indiana’s 2012-2013 influenza season, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov

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