LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The number of flu-related deaths has now exceeded 100 in the Commonwealth.
The Department for Public Health is now reporting 103 deaths from the flu epidemic in Kentucky, four of whom have been children. Twenty-one people died in just the last week.
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Ten of this year's deaths have been in Jefferson County, according to Metro Health. During the 2016-17 flu season, Kentucky only saw 76 deaths.
"Tragically, the influenza virus has claimed the lives of 100 Kentuckians so far this season," Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard, Acting Department for Public Health Commissioner, said. "During this time of widespread flu activity, we want to remind people to avoid contact with others if you have influenza or an influenza-like illness. If you are sick, seek care from your healthcare provider early. Lastly, take appropriate measures to protect yourself such as washing your hands with soap and water."
This season's H3N2 strain of the flu virus is said to be extremely serious, even deadly, and not just for those in higher risk categories but also to generally healthy people.
"Pneumonia, bacterial bloodstream infections, and sepsis are examples of serious influenza-related complications that may require hospitalization and sometimes result in death of healthy people with no known risk factors for serious illness," Department for Public Health's State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jonathan Ballard said. "Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu. We especially recommend that all healthy Kentuckians aged six months and older be vaccinated. The flu season typically runs until late spring so it is not too late to get vaccinated."
Health officials still recommend that residents get the flu shot.
Flu season lasts through May, according to Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.