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Updated, April 16

More than 150 people in North Texas and thousands more across the state have died from the flu this season.

One person in Parker County, 13 people in Denton County, 24 in Collin County, 33 in Tarrant County and 80 in Dallas County have died from the virus.

Flu is still rampant across the United States, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the epidemic has peaked. It eased a bit last week, for the second week in a row.

Influenza is still claiming lives. The CDC reported 17 flu deaths among children last week, bringing the total pediatric deaths to 114. Adult deaths from the flu are not tracked directly.

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This flu season is making regular headlines, especially in North Texas, where more than 100 people have died. It doesn't compare to the flu crisis the world endured a century ago, but we can still learn from it. 

From Texas Standard.

It’s been a costly and deadly flu season in Texas and across the country. State health records released earlier this month indicate nearly 3,000 adult Texans have died from either the flu or pneumonia. Many of those who died were over the age of 65. Five pediatric deaths have also been reported.

The current flu season is still getting worse, federal health officials said Friday. And it continues to take a toll on children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional 16 flu deaths among children, bringing the nationwide total this season for youngsters to 53.

The flu doesn't just make you feel lousy. A study published Wednesday finds it can increase your risk of having a heart attack, too.

"We found that you're six times more likely to have a heart attack during the week after being diagnosed with influenza, compared to the year before or after the infection," says study author Dr. Jeff Kwong, an epidemiologist and family physician with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario in Canada.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Flu season has been especially severe this year in North Texas. Earlier this month, the Walgreens flu index ranked Dallas-Fort Worth the seventh most active metropolitan area in the country, prompting area hospitals to push flu prevention more than usual.

But those reminders can often miss the most vulnerable in the community – so a roving flu clinic in Fort Worth is closing the gap.

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This has been a brutal flu season in North Texas. More than 40 people have died so far, and Tuesday, the Bonham Independent School District announced it was closing for a week because of the flu outbreak.

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Texas is first in flu according to Walgreens, and both the Dallas County and Tarrant County health departments are tracking a steep uptick in the number of positive tests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year's vaccine is thought to be about 32 percent effective, just like last year's.

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In the midst of cold and flu season, you also want to guard yourself against pneumonia. It’s a common disease with about a million cases a year requiring medical care. But it's also easy to mistake for other medical problems.  

Health officials are warning that the United States may have an unusually harsh flu season this year.

But they stress that flu seasons are notoriously difficult to predict, and it's far too early to know for sure what may happen.

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The New York Times recently reported on an ongoing health problem: People once vigilant about vaccinating their children aren’t nearly as careful about protecting themselves as they age – even though some diseases are particularly dangerous for older people. 

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Amid high flu activity in North Texas, health officials also are tracking respiratory syncytial (sinSISHuhl) virus. In this edition of KERA's consumer health series Vital Signs, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, explains why he calls RSV “probably the most important respiratory virus that most people have never heard of.”

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Flu activity remains high in North Texas.  Dallas County has reported five flu-related deaths this season. There have been two in Tarrant County.

With Texas and 45 other states reporting widespread flu activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a flu epidemic. Part of the blame goes to the current flu vaccine. It's less effective against Influenza A or H3N2 - the more severe strain causing the majority of cases.

However, Dr. Glenn Hardesty says get the shot, if you haven’t already. The emergency room physician at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital talked about the vaccine and the flu season in this edition of KERA’s consumer health series, Vital Signs. 

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If you’re searching for a stocking stuffer, flu medicine might not be a bad idea. Normally flu cases in North Texas spike after the Christmas holidays. This year, the virus has come early.

Texas Department of State Health Services

Don’t turn to the medicine cabinet for cough relief. Turn to the kitchen cabinet.

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: the death toll from the flu is climbing; a legendary Fort Worth mayor has died; Lake Highlands native St. Vincent has released a new song; and more.

U.S. Senate

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Ted Cruz says “No, Canada;” Harold Simmons has died; the flu is hitting Texas hard, and more:

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: UPS fails to deliver for thousands of customers, H1N1 claims 5 people in Texas, Dallas locals make the yearly YouTube roundup, and more.

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As we enter influenza season, the flu is hitting Texas hardest, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Its website shows that levels of the illness are higher in Texas and Mississippi than all other states. That’s as of the latest report from the last week of November.

The Texas Tribune

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst calls for President Obama’s impeachment, closing arguments in Mark Cuban’s insider-trading case, an early flu death and more.

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Senior citizens will have some extra protection this flu season: A new “high dose” version of the flu vaccine intended the boost the immune system of people 65 and older. In this installment of KERA’s Vital Signs, Dr. Adam McDaniel, an internist with Centennial Medical Center, explains how the new vaccine works.

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Flu vaccine is in limited supply at Tarrant County Public Health Centers this week, and Dallas County reports shortages of pediatric doses.  The demand is high as flu cases rise in North Texas.

Dallas County health officials confirm the third flu-related death of the season: six-year-old Tahila Johnson. 

Dallas County Health officials say they cannot confirm a flu death.  Health Department director Zach Thompson says the Medical Examiner must determine cause of death, and that may take time.  He says until then, the girl’s death cannot be attributed to flu.

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Dr. Jeffrey Kahn at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas says the ER has been flooded with young flu patients over the past two weeks.

"We’re seeing so much influenza right now that we are no longer testing for influenza. Or, I should say we’re only testing under very specific circumstances," said Kahn.  " So, right now when he see children in the Children’s Emergency Department with an influenza-like illness, it’s very likely they have flu.”

5 Key Questions In The Race Against Flu

Dec 12, 2012
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Health officials say get a flu shot if you haven’t done so. The virus arrived early, hitting Texas and four other southern states harder than other regions. In this segment of Vital Signs, Dr. Shantala Samart, an infectious disease specialist with Methodist Charlton Medical Center, talks about the flu strains being seen in Texas and why the virus showed up early.

The deadliest West Nile season in North Texas is coming to an end. In Tarrant County, environmental health manager David Jefferson says the numbers of human cases and infected mosquitoes have dropped significantly.

What Is Stomach Flu?

Jan 30, 2012

Sneezing, coughing and nausea this time of year might prompt you to diagnose yourself as having stomach flu. But it may not be flu at all. Sam Baker talked about this in our KERA Health Checkup with Dr. Melissa Gerdes of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.