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State health officials: Most severe flu season in years continues to grow


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The most severe flu season in years continues unabated in Wisconsin.

Over 700 people have been hospitalized over the past couple months. Tom Haupt of the state Health Services Department says the figure is already twice as many as for all of last winter.

Several elderly nursing home patients have died from the flu, but it’s not just older people being afflicted. Haupt says there’s been one pediatric death reported so far.

A 15-year-old died in northeast Wisconsin early in the flu season. And broadcast reports said a 17-year-old was visiting relatives in the state last weekend and died from flu complications.

Doctor Jay McNeal at Mercy Hospital in Janesville says younger patients in their 30’s and 40’s have been hospitalized with the flu over the past month. It has helped drive up patient volumes by 30 percent at the hospital, and 50 percent at some of Mercy’s urgent care clinics.

State officials say there’s still time to get vaccinated – and there’s plenty of vaccine available.

Haupt says the peak of the flu season is still coming. Officials say it could be 3 to 4 weeks away.