Two Influenza-Caused Deaths Confirmed in Salt Lake County

Jan 2, 2014

Salt Lake County Health Department Epidemiologist Ilene Risk strongly urges residents to get the flu vaccine.
Salt Lake County Health Department Epidemiologist Ilene Risk strongly urges residents to get the flu vaccine.
Credit Bob Nelson

Two Salt Lake County residents have died from influenza. Salt Lake County Health Department Epidemiologist Ilene Risk confirmed the deaths Thursday.  Risk says she can’t stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated because flu rates continue to rise.

“Our numbers have steadily increased. We have not seen the peak of this flu season yet,” says Risk.

Although Risk can’t comment on the specific fatalities, she says those who get very sick with influenza are among the number of people who have not yet gotten a flu shot.

“To say that that small percentage of people who have had severe illness," says Risk, "enough to spend days in the hospital and not get vaccinated, is a good reason to get vaccinated.”

Risk says the flu season typically peaks late this month or early next month and will continue into April and May. 

County Health Department officials say the flu shot remains the number one defense against the virus.

Risk says it’s a relatively easy step to take that could reduce illnesses and save lives. She also stressed the importance of good hand washing in preventing illness.