State Health Department reports 2 flu-related deaths

by: Diana Davis Updated:


ATLANTA - The State Health Department says two adults in Metro Atlanta have died from the flu this season.

Channel 2's Diana Davis discovered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday that elsewhere in the United States, some children have died.

The CDC's first flu briefing of the season has the CDC once again emphasizing the need for flu shots, not only for adults but all children over the age of 6 months.

According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, already three children have died.

The CDC admits the flu vaccine is not perfect. It protects only about 60 percent of those vaccinated, but it remains the best protection.

Schuchat said, "One day we'll probably have a really, really super-duper vaccine with high effectiveness in the most vulnerable, but today we don't. The vaccine we have right now can save lives and prevent hospitalizations."

What's expected this flu season is too soon to determine. The CDC said so far, flu season has been relatively mild, with sporadic activity across most of the country. A few outbreaks have occurred in Georgia, as well as other areas of the Southeast and Texas.

Even with only scattered flu activity in Georgia, the two just-reported as deaths are a reminder of how serious the flu can be.

"And this is something many people don't seem to realize. They think of the flu as a bad cold, and that's not the case. The flu is much more serious. We lose anywhere from 28,000 people per year in the United States to the flu," said Patrick O'Neal, of the Georgia State Health Department.

Health experts claim that the reporting of flu cases always lags a couple of weeks, so the number of cases could go up quickly.