Health officials are urging those who can to get the flu vaccine.
Eleven flu deaths have been confirmed with six of those being reported out of St. Joseph County. In a change from last year’s flu season, health officials say that all but one of the deaths occurred in individuals between the ages of 25 to 64.
February, the peak of flu season, is just a couple weeks away, but Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch said it’s still not too late to get your flu shot. With the H1N1 virus now widespread across 35 states, including Indiana, it is becoming increasingly important to get those vaccinations.
Lynch said it takes about two weeks to build an immunity after getting vaccinated.
Marion, Marshall, and Delaware counties have now joined 20 previously-identified counties in which cases of variant influenza A virus have been confirmed, but the total number of identified cases remains at 138. The Indiana State Department of Health says they recently found some duplicates in the samples submitted to the State Laboratory, and they have adjusted the number of cases confirmed in some counties.
A call center has been established to answer the general public’s questions regarding the virus, and is open from 8:15 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday at (877) 826-0011.
The State Board of Animal Health is taking extra precautions in carefully examining pigs being unloaded at the Indiana State Fair – this after several pigs were found with symptoms of influenza A at the LaPorte and Monroe county fairs. The pigs are being thoroughly monitored and examined before being allowed to enter the swine barn.
Four people were sickened at the LaPorte County Fair after they had reportedly come into direct contact with the animals, and confirmed test results indicate the cause as a variant of the influenza A virus. Humans and swine alike tested positive for the virus, and officials say the virus was directly transmitted from the infected animals.
Pulaski County Public Health Nurse, Andrea Keller, told WKVI that influenza activity is widespread in Indiana and has been identified in Pulaski County. Influenza A and B are the strains that have been reported to her office, but no cases of the H1N1 flu have been reported. We are currently in the middle of the peak flu season.
Here is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.
Diana Jedynak, 67, died of fire related injuries after her home caught fire early Monday morning in Washington Township. Indiana State Fire Marshal, Fred Sumpter, said the investigation into the cause of the fire was postponed due to the weather conditions and the integrity of the structure.
The Northwest Indiana Forum’s Board of Directors have voted to acknowldge the organization’s service territory to extend beyond Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Starke Counties to include Newton, Jasper and Pulaski Counties.
Influenza has not been a big scare yet in Starke or Pulaski Counties.
Starke County Health Nurse, Frank Lynch, said that flu numbers are down right now and no cases of H1N1 have been reported. Whooping cough has been a great concern around the state this season but no cases have been reported in Starke County. Lynch would like to remind Starke County residents that flu shots are available at his office, both adult and child doses. He also recommends that residents wash their hands frequently to avoid getting the flu and spreading germs. Call the Health Department at (574) 772-9137 to make an appointment to get your flu shot.