Flu in La.: ‘Worst I’ve ever seen,’ hundreds may die

Louisiana is suffering its worst flu season in decades and perhaps ever with hundreds of deaths possible, the state’s immunization director said.

“I’ve been doing this job for 20 years and I’ve never seen the flu season here so aggressive so early,” Dr. Frank Welch of the Louisiana Department of Health said in an interview with USA Today Network.

Welch said he fears 600 to 700 people will die in Louisiana from flu-related deaths this year.

“That’s a hard thing to determine because the flu is very opportunistic,” he said. “A patient might not die from the flu itself, but from other illnesses or conditions exacerbated by the flu.”

Welch said the number of Louisianans seeking treatment for flu-like symptoms is about 10 percent of the population, almost double the percentage during last year’s peak season, which is February.

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