Two die from flu-related complications
The state reported Monday that two influenza-related deaths occurred in January, Rhode Island’s first two of the 2013-14 flu season.
The first individual, a male in his 50s who had underlying medical conditions, died on New Year’s Day. The second individual was a male in his 80s who also had underlying medical conditions. He died on Jan. 25. The delay in reporting the deaths was so tests could be conducted to confirm flu was the cause.
This is the first flu season that information about adult flu-related deaths is being reported to the state Department of Health. The information must now be reported by all licensed healthcare providers and facilities, according to a change made by the state.
The dominant strain circulating this year is H1N1, which affects children and young adults more than people in other age groups. Vaccination is also important for pregnant women, healthcare workers, elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
There is still plenty of flu vaccine throughout Rhode Island, according to state health officials.