Six dead out of 24 H1N1 flu cases

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POSTED: Thursday, January 2, 2014 - 4:21pm

UPDATED: Friday, January 3, 2014 - 10:31am

Two dozen Hidalgo County residents have H1N1 flu, formerly referred to as swine flu.

That's just in the last month. Of those 24 confirmed cases have been six fatalities. 

"At this current rate, it is not an unusual number, statistically speaking," said Eddie Olivarez of the Hidalgo County Health Department. "From a public health point of view, this is nowhere near an epidemic. Or a major outbreak."

One of those who died was just seven years old. The number reported is based on what county officials call active surveillance. Hospitals aren't required to disclose how many H1N1 cases they see. 

So the number, theoretically, could be much higher. Although death may be a bit extreme for most cases. 

"These folks were already ill," Olivarez said. "All of them have had pre-existing conditions dealing with other illnesses.  None of these folks died from H1N1 exclusively."

All health professionals urge you to get the flu vaccine this year.  The flu shot has a preventative for H1N1. 

The shot is not supposed to prevent the regular flu, but rather prevent symptoms from getting out of hand. 

"Absolutely, take the flu vaccine," said Flora Reyes of San Juan's Nuestra Clinica Del Valle. "Especially here, we recommend it for everybody... From six months up, everybody can come get it."

Flu shots should range in cost from $20-35, and you can get one at many pharmacies and doctors. And this is a good time to get it, as January and February see the biggest spikes in flu cases.  

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