Health, Local

5 Deaths Linked To Flu In Georgia This Season

Flu has been linked to the deaths of three adults over the age of 65 and one child between the age of 5 and 17 since the state started tracking the virus’ activity at the end of September.
Flu has been linked to the deaths of three adults over the age of 65 and one child between the age of 5 and 17 since the state started tracking the virus’ activity at the end of September.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Another death has been linked to influenza in Georgia. The state Department of Public Health says the virus has killed five people so far this season.

The agency’s latest weekly influenza report, which covers Dec. 30 – Jan. 5, says the latest victim was an adult between the age of 50 and 64.

Flu has been linked to the deaths of three adults over the age of 65 and one child between the age of 5 and 17 since the state started tracking the virus’ activity at the end of September.

The new mortality numbers come as Atlanta based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases its latest flu report.

It says the flu is not as widely spread across Georgia, even though the state’s seeing some of the highest levels of activity in the country.

“Not as many parts of the state have been seeing flu activity as in the previous week, but the levels of influenza like illness statewide are still at the high levels,” said Carrie Reed, who tracks influenza for the CDC.

Reed says it’s still too early to tell just how bad this season will be, even though it’s not shaping up to be as bad as the most recent one.

The CDC estimates 79,400 deaths from the virus during the 2017-2019 flu season, a vast majority of them older adults, and some 950,000 hospitalizations.

Normally, the agency only releases data on the virus’ impacts at the end of a flu season.

This year, it’s releasing that information in the middle of the flu season as a way to “fill out the picture of the burden of flu in the United States,” the CDC said in a release.

It estimates as many as 7.3 million people came down with the flu from October 1, 2018 until January 5, 2019, and as many as 83,500 have been hospitalized as a result.

And the worst part of the flu season may still be yet to come.

“We have typically seen that activity picks up after the holidays, so we may not have peaked yet,” said the CDC’s Reed. “But we know we have a lot of flu out there still right now, and we expect that this will continue for several more weeks.”