Health department encourages flu vaccinations after Southern Utah man dies from influenza

ST. GEORGE — A Southern Utah man recently died from influenza, according to a statement from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department Tuesday.

The 65-year-old man resided in the five-county region – Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield and Beaver counties – and was infected with influenza type A, the health department stated.

“We have had 36 people hospitalized from the flu this season,” SWUPHD Epidemiologist Kassidy Peterson, said. “Their ages range from infants to the elderly. It’s not too late to get vaccinated and we urge everyone to do so, especially those whose age or health condition makes them more vulnerable.”

Type A and B influenza viruses cause epidemics almost every winter in the United States. In Utah, the flu season tends to run from mid-November through February.

Influenza is contagious and can spread through droplets from infected people when they talk, cough or sneeze.

General symptoms of the flu can include headaches and muscle aches, fatigue, fever, chills, tiredness, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throats and a dry cough.

Stock image courtesy of Pixabay. St. George News

Seniors, those 65 and older, are considered a vulnerable population in regard to the flu. Other vulnerable populations include infants, individuals with chronic health conditions and pregnant or nursing women.

Individuals who may otherwise be healthy should get a vaccination in order to prevent becoming a carrier who could unknowingly infect at-risk individuals, David Heaton, the health department’s public information officer, previously told St. George News.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, seasonal flu activity was high at the close of 2019 and is expected to increase.

According to year-end data from the Utah Health Department, there have been an estimated 172 flu-related hospitalizations with the illness widespread across the state.

Nationally, the CDC reports that at least 6.4 million people have been sick with the flu this season. This has resulted in 55,000 reported hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths.

According to the Utah health departments and the CDC, the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. Additional ways to prevent the disease can be found here.

Flu shots are still available at Southwest Utah Public Health Department offices listed below.

  • Washington County | 620 S. 400 East, St. George | 435-673-3528, ext.1
  • Iron County | 260 E. DL Sargent Drive, Cedar City | 435-586-2437.
  • Kane County | 445 N. Main St., Kanab | 435-644-2537.
  • Garfield County | 601 E. Center, Panguitch | 435-676-8800.
  • Beaver County | 75 W. 1175 North, Beaver | 435-438-2482.

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