Flu season has its first death

A Pierce County resident died Dec. 19 following complications from the flu, health officials reported. The man was in his 60s and had chronic medical conditions that increased his risk of complications from the flu virus, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Other details about the man weren’t released in what the Health Department said is the first flu-related death of the 2016-17 influenza season. The flu commonly can cause multiple days of fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. Each year, the illness sends thousands of people to hospital and can be fatal. During the past two flu seasons, 40 people in Pierce Cunty died from flu-related maladies – 15 in 2015-16 and 25 in 2014-15 . Flu is currently on the rise in Pierce County, with more people testing positive when they visit their healthcare providers, the Health Department reported last week. Hospital admissions for flu-related illness more than doubled in a one-month period, from three in the week ending Nov. 19 to eight in the week ending Dec. 17. A recent outbreak of mumps is concerning, but the flu annually provides much greater reason to worry, said Matthew Rollosson, a nurse epidemiologist for the Health Department. “Each year, the flu makes far more people sick and can result in death,” Rollosson said. “Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu.”


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