Increase in Indiana flu deaths for ages 25-49, flu B arrives early
Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the flu isn't only more widespread than it was at this time last year but also more deadly.
16 News Now learned who is being affected the most in Indiana this flu season.
When you compare how many flu cases there were at this point in the season last year to this year, the numbers are pretty close, but the number of fatal cases in people between 25 and 49 years old increased at an alarming rate.
At this time last year, Indiana's State Department of Health says there were only 18 cases of the flu for people between 25 and 49 years of age. That's the same number this flu season.
While none of these cases resulted in deaths last flu season, the flu has already killed 10 people in that age range this flu season.
This comes after a new survey found less than half of those polled in their 20s and 30s received their flu shot this year, putting them at risk.
“Our flu vaccine every year is developed to cover both the most likely strains of influenza A and the most likely strains of influenza B that we're expecting to see throughout the season,” the South Bend Clinic's Dr. Rob Riley said.
Another big difference from last year is the emergence of influenza B earlier in the season.
At this time last year, Indiana only detected two cases of influenza B. This year, they've already detected 73 cases.
“We have seen a lot of influenza B early in the season, and it's only recently that influenza A has begun to come up as well. Influenza B is still predominating on a national and local level, which is somewhat atypical for January,” Riley said.
We're still unsure what is causing more Hoosier deaths from the flu, but the numbers are much higher across the board than they were this time last year.
Riley says the best way to avoid getting the flu is by getting the vaccine.
The prominence of influenza B right now means you could get the flu twice in a short amount of time, but the vaccine is best to help prevent it from happening.