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Health officials: It's still not too late for the flu shot

Flu cases down 60-70 percent

SAN ANTONIO - Health officials are suggesting four recent deaths in Texas may be linked to the H1N1 strain of the flu.

In all four cases, patients started showing signs of flu-like symptoms early on.

This year's flu shot includes the H1N1 virus, which has shown up in hundreds of new cases across the nation and could be linked to the four deaths.

San Antonio Metropolitan Health District directors said they are monitoring numbers closely after seeing a 10 to 15 percent increase in flu cases from the past two weeks.

"Compared to last year, our numbers are significantly down for San Antonio as well as the state," said Dr. Anil Mangla, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District assistant director. "However, the CDC has announced that last week, they've seen a great deal of increase, not just nationally, but also we've seen this locally."

Although the number of flu cases have gone down 60 to 70 percent from last year, Mangla said the flu is still unpredictable and it is still not too late to get vaccinated.

"The flu season is anywhere between November to May," said Mangla. "We're barely into December. It's been really good that we haven't seen many cases thus far, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the flu season is over."

The Frank Garrett Clinic in San Antonio is just one of the many places where people are getting the vaccine.

Mangla said the flu comes in waves and that the peak of this year's flu season could come around during the months of February and March.

"The flu season is anywhere between November to May," said Mangla. "We're barely into December. It's been really good that we haven't seen many cases thus far, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the flu season is over."

The CDC is reporting that the flu vaccine prevented more than 79,000 hospitalizations last year.

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