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Minnehaha County Resident South Dakota’s First Flu Death Of Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Lon Kightlinger, (605) 773-3737 


Minnehaha County Resident South Dakota’s First Flu Death Of Season


PIERRE, S.D. – The first South Dakotan to die of the flu this season was a Minnehaha County resident in the 70-79 age group, the Department of Health reported today. To protect patient confidentiality, additional information about the deceased is not being released. 


“Our sympathy is with the family and we can only hope their tragic loss will serve to remind others just how serious an illness flu can be and encourage them to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the department. “No vaccine is 100 percent effective but the annual flu vaccination is the single best way to reduce your chances of catching the flu and decrease the severity of the flu if you do catch it.”


To date South Dakota has reported three laboratory-confirmed cases of flu and one flu-related hospitalization.


Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone but some people are at particularly high risk and should be sure to be vaccinated. This includes people over 50, pregnant women, those with chronic medical conditions, health-care workers and household contacts of high risk populations, especially those with young infants in the household.


Children should also be vaccinated as they account for significant numbers of cases each year and help 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:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand gel ; 
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze;
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth; and,
  • Stay home if you're sick.


Learn more about preventing the flu at http://flu.sd.gov.   

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