A child and an elderly man in Denton County have died from the flu as cases continue to rise throughout the area and Texas, according to the Denton County Health Department.
They are the first flu-related deaths in Denton County for the current flu season, which generally peaks in January and February but can run through May, officials said.
The deaths brought renewed calls from local health officials that residents get the flu vaccination to protect themselves.
“I just wouldn’t mess with it; it is a very dangerous strain of flu this year,” said Bing Burton, director of the Denton County Health Department. “We are very concerned about influenza cases this year. ... From what I am seeing, this strain of influenza is very serious and individuals need to get vaccinated.”
The two deaths — a girl and a man in his 70s — were both from the Carrollton area, health officials said.
The flu strain that caused the deaths has not yet been identified, but most of the cases in Denton County have been the H1N1 strain, also known as swine flu, officials said.
The Centers for Disease Control said Texas is one of a handful of states with “high” activity of influenza-like illnesses. Three Dallas County adult deaths were reported last week, and additional deaths have been reported elsewhere in Texas.
In the Denton area, free flu vaccines are still available at both health department clinics: in Denton, at 535 South Loop 288, Suite 1003, and in Lewisville, at 190 N. Valley Parkway, Suite 203.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.