Influenza activity decreased statewide to "local" levels last week with no new influenza deaths reported as of Feb. 23, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.

Of the 33 influenza-associated deaths in the state this season, two have been children: one infant and one 12-year-old boy with an underlying chronic illness. Fifty-two percent of victims were female. 

The remaining deaths were among people 75 years of age and older, except for one person in their 50s, according to state epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger.

"The reason why the flu vaccination is less effective in the elderly is because as we age our immune system weakens, which causes our response to vaccinations to deteriorate," Kightlinger said Friday.

The peak of the 2012-13 flu season came in early January, state health officials said. So far this year, three-fourths of the laboratory-confirmed viruses were Influenza A. 

 

Contact Mary Garrigan at 394-8424 or mary.garrigan@rapidcityjournal.com

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.