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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

Date: _____
Contact: _____

First Flu Death Reported in _____ County

The _____ County Health Department announced today the first reported flu death this flu season in ___ County.  Six deaths were reported in the state during the last week, bringing the total to eight.  Deaths have occurred among three residents of Tulsa County, and one each from Creek, Mayes, Muskogee, Pittsburg, and Rogers counties.

According to Oklahoma State Department of Health Acute Disease Service, influenza-associated hospitalizations have doubled in the past week, increasing from 171 to 345 as of January 8. Since September 30, 2012, the largest number of flu-related hospitalizations have been reported among persons aged 65 and older (50%) , followed by adults 19 to 64 years (23%),children less than 5 years (19%), and 5 to 18 years (8%).

“Spread of influenza is occurring statewide, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to get your flu shot,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____. “We still have flu vaccine available.” (Insert flu clinic times or other information regarding obtaining vaccine at the CHD.)

An annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination is especially important for those persons at high risk from flu complications including people 50 years of age and older, young children, persons with chronic lung disease (such as asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions, other long-term health conditions, and pregnant women.  

“Persons who have the flu can spread it to others even before they feel sick. The flu vaccine provides protection for the individual who receives it and reduces the chance of spreading the flu to persons who have not been vaccinated, including babies too young to receive a vaccination,” said _____.

In addition to getting your flu shot, the __ County Health Department reminds you to follow these prevention tips:
• Frequent hand washing using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.
• Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit, including use of tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then disposing of them and washing hands at once. When tissues are not readily available, use your sleeve, never your hands.
• Stay home from work, school, and other public places if you are ill.

Call the _____ County Health Department at (phone number) for more information about flu vaccine.  Visit www.health.ok.gov for Oklahoma flu updates posted every Thursday.

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