Arkansas Department of Health reported another death from influenza Thursday, bringing the total in the state to 39 this season.
Of the 39, 27 reported deaths are between ages 25 and 64, according to department spokeswoman Kerri Krell.
Krell said the age group is particularly susceptible to this season’s primary flu strain, H1N1.
The age group is also one that has not been the target demographic for free flu shot clinics and awareness efforts.
Elderly, health care workers, pregnant women and the very young have been encouraged by the health department to receive the vaccine, available in nasal mist and shot form.
People ages 25 to 64 are generally more healthy, Krell said, and have well-developed immune systems.
Krell said when H1N1 flu broke out in 2009 it was apparent this population was affected.
“We were aware this would affect the population, but we weren’t sure this would be the main strain this season,” Krell said. “Since 2009 H1N1 has been circulating but not at the same level as other flus. For some reason we’re seeing this one this season.”
The department predicts between six and eight more weeks of flu season, and the season appears to be at a peak.
Krell said flu shots are still recommended, as cases are expected into March and April.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)