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NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Seven deaths in Indiana have been attributed to influenza. While no deaths have been reported in the Floyd County area, health officials have noticed a substantial increase in the number of flu cases.
Dr. Tom Harris, the Floyd County Health Officer, told WDRB News Floyd Memorial Hospital has recorded 400 positive cases of the flu this season. That's up more than 50 percent from last year, Harris said.
"In our hospital, we've run over 600 flu tests and the positive rate is 400," said Harris. "There have been seven deaths (in Indiana). To put it in comparison, this time last year we had had zero deaths."
At Hazelwood Middle School, administrators say they have not seen a huge flu outbreak, but Gavin Livingston has noticed his class appears to be shrinking.
"There were like two or three kids missing yesterday and there were like four missing today," said Livingston, an eighth grader.
He's not sure why his classmates are absent but he assumes they're sick.
Pharmacist Daniel Golembeski has seen plenty of sick people walk through Mathes Pharmacy. He's given more flu shots this year than last and says at times the pharmacy has run out of the prescription Tamiflu.
"I know a couple of people who have been hospitalized with the flu so it's nothing to mess with," said Golembeski.
Indiana's state health department has also noted a spike statewide since November.
"My number one endorsement for preventative medicine is getting the flu vaccine. We know from analysis that the flu vaccine is a good match for what is out there," said Harris.
Tamiflu will reduce the severity of symptoms, but Harris and others say only if it's used in the first 48 hours.
"I wouldn't promote this unless you catch it within the first day," Golembeski said.
Livingston says he'll stick to old-fashioned prevention.
"We just make sure that our hands are clean," he said.