As of Thursday, 74 people have died in Arkansas from flu-related ailments, making it the deadliest flu season in modern recorded history, according to the state Department of Health.
“This was a very bad season, maybe our worst since 1919, since the 1918 Pandemic flu. We don’t know that for sure, because we don’t have great records for the first three or four decades of the 1900’s, but it’s certainly the worst on record. The worst on record that we’ve had good data on,” said Dr. Dirk Haselow, the state epidemiologist.
More younger adults were impacted this season than previous years, Haselow says, because this year's strain of the H1N1 virus targeted people within that age group. Those are also the people least likely to get a flu vaccination.
“Two-thirds of the people who died, 47 of the 74, were between (the ages of) 25 and 64. And most of them were previously healthy people,” Haselow said.
Although the flu season is winding down, Haselow encourages those who still haven’t gotten a flu shot this season to get one.
“Working aged adults need to get their flu shot every year just like people in the traditional high risk groups, the young children and older adults with underlying medical conditions.”
The symptoms of flu include prominent body aches, fever, cough and malaise, although some people can also have sore throat and abdominal pain.