Utah Reports Two More Flu Deaths

Utah Reports Two More Flu Deaths

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Local health officials have reported two more deaths from influenza.

Officials have not identified either victim, only saying both were over the age of 65.

The second death was reported Thursday, said Salt Lake Valley Health Department spokeswoman Kathy Baebler.

The first death, reported Wednesday, involved a 96-year-old woman stricken with flu and pneumonia.

The Salt Lake County woman died last weekend at her assisted-living facility, said another health department spokeswoman, Pamela Davenport.

Health officials also are investigating the influenza death of a Utah girl in Arizona last week. It is not known where she contracted the disease.

A girl from Wyoming also died last week at a Salt Lake City hospital. Authorities said the girl suffered from the flu and other complications, and it might never be known what the actual cause of death was.

The state Department of Health has urged those considered at risk for influenza -- the elderly, children under 24 months old, those with chronic medical conditions, and women in the second and third trimester of pregnancy -- get flu shots or a nasal vaccine, either from public health clinics or their own health care providers.

Utah is one of 13 states where the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared influenza "widespread." The CDC said the flu season started earlier than normal this year and there have been more cases than normal; children in particular who have the flu appear sicker than normal.

As of Tuesday, 1,211 laboratory-identified flu cases have been reported in 17 Utah counties. Of those ill, 119 -- or 10 percent -- have been hospitalized, the health department reported.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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