Sanger woman dies from influenza

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Health officials reported Denton County’s sixth flu death Friday, a Sanger woman in her 40s.

The woman, who had no underlying health conditions, died last week, according to Bing Burton, director of the Denton County Health Department.

As far as the county health officials know, the woman had not received a flu vaccination this year.

Currently, those area hospitals and health care providers serving as sentinels for the outbreak are reporting about 50 percent fewer influenza cases and fewer positive flu test results than Jan. 10, which is believed to have been the peak of this year’s season.

The department is relying on sentinels to monitor the outbreak, since health care providers are not required by law to report flu cases to public health officials the way that they are required to report other contagious diseases.

Overall, the H1N1 strain, known as swine flu, has proven more virulent this year, disproportionately affecting younger people, as happened in the pandemic in 2009, Burton said.

Typically, flu affects those age 65 and older, but this year larger numbers are being reported in those ages 18-49 and ages 50-64, Burton said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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