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2 more die of flu complications in Allegheny County

Ben Schmitt
| Monday, March 5, 2018, 2:27 p.m.
Flu season typically runs from early October through May, reports the Centers for Disease Control, which recommends people 6 months and older get annual flu vaccines.
Flu season typically runs from early October through May, reports the Centers for Disease Control, which recommends people 6 months and older get annual flu vaccines.

Two additional Allegheny County residents died of flu-related complications within the last month — bringing the total this season up to 21 — the county Health Department said Monday.

Both decedents were men in their mid-60s. Health department officials were unsure whether the residents had underlying medical conditions.

Since flu season began in October, 21 people in Allegheny County have died of the flu, compared with eight flu-related deaths at this time a year earlier.

“While flu activity is declining, the virus is still circulating,” Health Department spokesman Ryan Scarpino said. “It's not too late for residents to protect themselves by getting a flu shot, if they have not already done so.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said flu activity is past its peak.

“We continue to see a downward trend in flu activity in Allegheny County,” Scarpino said.

Through Saturday, the number of flu cases in Allegheny County totaled 9,791, compared to 4,026 last year at this time. Updated Westmoreland County statistics will be released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of health. The flu kills about 36,000 people a year, according to the CDC.

Flu activity usually begins in October and peaks between December and March.

Much of this season's concern was caused by a dominant flu strain called H3N2.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, or via Twitter @Bencschmitt.

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