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IN flu-related deaths climb to 40

The number of flu-related deaths in Indiana has more than quadrupled over the past few weeks. The state department of health is reporting 40 Hoosiers have died during the flu season, which began in November.

Most of the deaths occurred in those 65 or older, and all but two of the fatalities had an underlying medical condition. Those include heart disease, diabetes, asthma and renal disease.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the region which includes Indiana has the highest rate in the nation of samples testing positive for flu. The CDC reports this season’s flu vaccine is approximately 62% effective, and is still the best protection from getting the illness.

State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess says flu activity remains high and may not have peaked yet. He recommends you continue to wash your hands often, cover your cough and stay home if you are sick.

Symptoms include high fever, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches and sore throat.

This season’s vaccine offers protection against the three most common strains of influenza: H3N2, H1N1 and Influenza B. The H3N2 strain appears to be predominant thus far in the 2012/13 flu season.