HOOSIER HEALTH: Flu virus spreads across Indiana

COLUMBIA CITY – Influenza has claimed the lives of 10 people in Indiana. An additional three deaths were reported, up from seven last week.A weekly health department report stated eight of those who died were older than 50 and two were under 18, according to Indiana State Health Department officials.Although no deaths have occurred in Whitley County, symptoms such as high fever, fatigue, muscle aches and sore throats are on the rise. “Currently we have three cases reported,” said Whitley County Public Health Nurse Heather Reid. “Of course, that is reported. There could be some not reported, but that number would be normal for this time of year.”The good news is, according to Reid, Whitley County’s flu concern is not any different than last year.However, county schools are reporting a growing amount of absences due to illness. In fact, Faith Christian Academy canceled classes Tuesday due to illness within the student body. The Center for Disease Control has labeled the state of Indiana’s flu season as “widespread.”“However, it is absolutely not too late to become vaccinated.”Reid agrees. “Get a flu shot,” she said. “We still have them at the clinic.” She also advises simple tasks to minimize illness such as washing hands.The 2012-13 vaccine protects against the three most common strains of the flu. Health officials have seen the H3N2 strain as the predominate one and the 2012-13 vaccine appears to be a good match for combating the flu strain.For more information about Indiana’s 2012-13 flu season, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.statehealth.in.gov.For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Jan. 9 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.