Flu Deaths Rise in South Carolina

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By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Numbers out this week from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control indicate more people are dying from influenza.

"We don't want to see anyone die from influenza," said Jim Beasley, DHEC spokesperson.

That is not the case, however.

Eight people who died last week, says DHEC, were adults, bringing the total death toll to 49 statewide. All but two of the flu deaths in the state since flu season began have been in adults. The latest reporting period ended Monday.

"It's tragic. Every year in South Carolina we do experience deaths from influenza," said Beasley. "There's a great way to help prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and even death and that's by getting vaccinated each flu season."

Beasley says this year's vaccine covers multiple strains of the virus. It takes a couple of weeks for your body to build up immunity after ingesting it. However, Beasley urges, it's not too late for anyone six months old or older who has a healthy immune system to safeguard yourself.

"We know there's still virus in South Carolina and continued illness as a result, so get vaccinated now because you never know when you'll come in contact with the virus."

Anytime, he says, is a good time to not add to the more than 1,300 folks who've been hospitalized since September. About 25,000 cases have been reported.

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