The flu season has grown increasingly deadly in South Carolina in recent weeks, with 11 flu-related deaths logged in the week ending Jan. 18.
Those 11 deaths brought the total for the season (which starts in late September) to 41, according to the latest statistics released by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. Twenty-four of those deaths have been in the past three weekly reporting cycles.
The victims have been predominantly adults – 12 in the 18-49 age group, 16 in the 50-64 age group and nine in the 65-older age group. Four children ages 4 and younger have died of flu in the state, and there have been no flu-related deaths reported in the 5-17 age group.
The number of deaths in the past week of reporting is the highest weekly total this season. The number of flu-related hospitalizations (160) last week was the second-highest this season in the state.
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Officially, the state’s flu outbreak still hasn’t met the criteria for “widespread” classification, as it has in 40 other states.
Health officials remind people that the best ways to combat the flu is to get vaccinated, wash hands often and well, cough into the inside of your elbow and stay home when you are sick.