Iowa health officials: Flu season is here - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa health officials: Flu season is here

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -

The first flu cases of the season have been identified in Iowa.

Three patients have been diagnosed in Henry, Johnson and Polk counties. This, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) means the season is off to an early start.

“It's understandable the public has been watching coverage of the Ebola outbreak and is concerned about that infectious disease,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “While Ebola is grabbing headlines, we need to remember it is the flu that poses the highest risk to the health of Iowans.

"We estimate an average of 300,000 Iowans get the flu every year and together, flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average of 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa," Quinlisk continued. "There is no vaccine for Ebola, but there are several good vaccines for the flu. The most effective way to prevent influenza illness and death is the yearly flu vaccine."

The IDPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a yearly flu shot for all people 6 months or older.

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