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Harsh, Deadly Flu Cases Reported At University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - Officials at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics say three people have died as a result of influenza this flu season. Doctors say the flu has been particularly violent this year, resulting in more severe cases requiring specialized treatment.

"We've treating many flu patients in the [intensive care unit]," said Dr. Loreen Herwaldt, UIHC hospital epidemiologist.

Herwaldt said a young boy was among the fatalities at UIHC this flu season. State officials had previously released information about the otherwise healthy boy's death, but declined to identify the boy or say where he lived. Two other deaths were to patients categorized as "high risk," which includes extremely overweight people, pregnant women and the very young and old.

Influenza has also complicated other conditions, which have led to additional deaths at the hospital. UIHC treats some of the worst cases of the flu from around the state. Some patients are flown in during very late stages of their fight, Herwaldt said.

The best defense to protect against the main strain of flu this winter, H1N1, remains the flu shot, health officials said. According to Herwaldt the shot is 65 percent effective and can significantly cut-down on symptoms even if one gets the flu.

Flu season is expected to continue through March.

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