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Widespread Flu Infections Claim 7 Lives In Illinois

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CBS Chicago (con't)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Influenza has already killed 7 people in Illinois, and state health officials were urging people to do what they can to slow its spread.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports up to 122 people have been admitted to the intensive care units at Illinois hospitals for treatment of the flu. Seven of those people died, and six of those deaths occurred in suburban Cook County.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said normal seasonal flu targets mainly the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, but now the influenza target has expanded.

Hasbrouck said the current flu season is seeing a return visit from the H1N1 strain, known as swine flu, which caused a national pandemic in 2009.

“What we saw with H1N1 is that kind of new risk groups emerged – some of the younger adults, younger children, those with chronic diseases, and pregnant women,” he said.

Centegra Hospitals in northwest suburban Woodstock and McHenry have curtailed patient visits by those under age 14, and limited all visits to two at a time to any patient, in an effort to prevent the spread of influenza.

CBS 2’s Brad Edwards talked to one H1N1 flu patient Dan Deem at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital who said, “It’s been like hell.”

The construction worker is a father of six.

Doctors advise people to get flu shots to lower the risk of infection. Remember, the vaccine takes approximately two weeks to take effect.

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