Flu death toll rising in Texas

- In Dallas County health officials report flu deaths have more than doubled in a week bringing the total to 18 this flu season.

Here locally, Travis County stands at 7. Williamson County is reporting the loss of two people who had contributing illnesses along with the flu.

"It usually comes in waves when I see it,” said Baylor Scott and White Health Dr. Maro Andaya.

Dr. Maro Andaya is reporting a busy flu season. She’s treating multiple patients a day. She diagnosed two prior to meeting with us.

"Sometimes all in the same family 4, 5 coming into a room. One time there was an office that came in one by one. A patient would come in. I would diagnose them. The next day their co-worker came in. By the end of the week it was a whole office,” said Andaya.

The most concerning cases tend to be in her more senior patients. Those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or cancers seem to be most at risk for complications.

"Sometimes they will come in with a superimposing pneumonia or some other sort of illness on top of the influenza,” said Andaya.

Travis County reports seven who have died from the flu. All patients were over the age of 50. The current death count is higher than the three previous years.

It could rise as Travis County health and human services gets a new report later this week. Peak flu season is in February.

In Williamson County. health officials report two elderly patients have died due to a mixture of contributing illnesses and the flu.

To keep seniors safe, assisted living facilities are taking precautions such as closing dining rooms and instead serving meals in rooms, suspending group activities and temporarily suspending visitors.

Dr. Andaya encourages older patients--especially those with chronic issues to get to the doctor as soon as they feel sick.

"Something that can appear to be quiet uncomplicated ends up complicated, so in order to prevent a bad outcome I do want people to come see their doctor once they develop symptoms,” said Andaya.


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