Galveston County reports first flu-related death in 4 years

GALVESTON, Texas – Galveston County Health District announced that a 61 year old woman with pre-existing conditions died this month after contracting the flu.  It’s their first reported flu death since 2014.

Officials at the Galveston County Health District said a 61-year-old woman, who had pre-existing health conditions, died in mid-January from issues related to the flu.

“Every year, it's expected, unfortunately, there will be a number of deaths of elderly people,” said Scott Packard, the Communications Director for the Galveston County Health District.  “Sixty-one does not qualify as elderly, so this person's death isn't something we would expect to see.”

Authorities are still trying to determine whether the 61-year-old woman had received the flu vaccine.

This comes during a steep increase of flu cases across the country.  In Galveston County alone, more than 3500 flu cases have been reported while last season there were under 500.

The County released this news today to motivate people to get their flu vaccine.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to this woman and her family,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, of the Galveston County Local Health Authority. “Our goal in announcing this tragedy is to highlight how dangerous the flu can be and how important it is to be vaccinated against the virus.”

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People should also help stop the spread of the flu by covering all of their coughs and sneezes, frequently washing their hands, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and staying at home when they are sick, officials said.

There have been 3,527 confirmed cases of the flu in Galveston County this season, officials said. That is compared to 455 cases by the same time last season, officials said.

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