Pennington County resident in the 90-99 age group is South Dakota's first flu death of the season. The individual had influenza B and was hospitalized. To date, South Dakota has reported 156 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu and 28 flu-related hospitalizations.
"This unfortunate death is a reminder that flu can be a very serious illness, particularly for elderly individuals," said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health. "Annual vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu and protect."
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone, but people over 50 are one of the groups at highest risk for complications who should be sure to be vaccinated. Also at higher risk are pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions. Health-care workers and household contacts of high risk populations, especially those with young infants in the household, should also be vaccinated. Children are another high risk group, accounting for significant cases and hospitalizations each year and helping spread flu in the community. The department offers free flu vaccine for kids from six months to 18 years.
In addition to vaccination, to prevent the spread of the flu:
Learn more about preventing the flu at http://flu.sd.gov