First flu-related deaths reported this season in Iowa

Iowa (KWQC) - Two women have died in Iowa in what public health officials are saying are the state's first flu-related deaths this season.

Two women have died in Iowa in what public health officials are saying are the state's first flu-related deaths this season. The Iowa Department of Public Health announced that an older adult Central Iowa woman (61-80 years of age) and an elderly Northwest Iowa woman (81+ years of age) died and had underlying conditions or contributing factors. (Photo: CDC/MGN)

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced that an older adult Central Iowa woman (61-80 years of age) and an elderly Northwest Iowa woman (81+ years of age) died and had underlying conditions or contributing factors.

"This week flu activity in Iowa has increased to local spread, indicating that the virus is present in Iowa communities," officials said in a statement. "IDPH Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati says these deaths are an unfortunate reminder that flu can be a serious illness. "The flu virus does have the potential to cause severe illness and death, especially in the very young, very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. This is a great time to get the flu vaccine to prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming sick before flu activity increases further.”

You can read the full announcement below.

"The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the first flu-related deaths of the 2019-2020 influenza season: an older adult (61-80 years of age) Central Iowa woman, and an elderly (81+ years of age) Northwest Iowa woman. Both women had underlying conditions or contributing factors.

This week flu activity in Iowa has increased to local spread, indicating that the virus is present in Iowa communities. IDPH Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati says these deaths are an unfortunate reminder that flu can be a serious illness. "The flu virus does have the potential to cause severe illness and death, especially in the very young, very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. This is a great time to get the flu vaccine to prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming sick before flu activity increases further.”

The CDC recommends that essentially everyone over 6 months of age should receive the flu vaccine. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for the body to achieve full benefit against the flu virus.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days, and often puts healthy people in bed for days.

To learn more about influenza in Iowa, visit http://idph.iowa.gov/influenza. Contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at https://vaccinefinder.org."