(January 16, 2014) The total number of flu deaths in Central Texas rose to eight Thursday with the confirmation of five more fatal cases of the virus.
The latest victims include two women in their 70s, one of whom died in late December and the other in early January at Scott & White Hospital in Temple.
They both had the H1N1 strain of the flu, Bell County Public Health District disease surveillance coordinator Lacy Sanders said Thursday.
A third woman from Coryell County who was in her 50s died at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen.
Two men in their 30s who were initially treated at Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights, both of whom lived in Bell County, also died, Seton physician Dr. Peter Whitney-Cashio said Thursday.
One of the men was transferred to Scott & White where he later died and the other was transferred to a facility in either Williamson or Travis County where he later died, Whitney-Cashio said.
Both deaths occurred in December, Whitney-Cashio said.
A Coryell County man in his 60s died of the flu in late December at the Temple VA Hospital and the virus claimed the life of a 2-week-old girl in early January at McLane Children's Hospital Scott & White in Temple.
The first flu death in McLennan County was confirmed earlier this week.
The victim was a woman in her 60s.
Local officials say they're battling four strains of influenza this year, including Flu A, Flu B, H1N1 and a fourth type that was not named.
Health officials say in particular that pregnant women, the elderly, and children should be vaccinated.
Sanders said the flu shot requires about two weeks for the body to build immunity against the illness and the flu mist requires about a week.