Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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Three more area residents died of the flu in the past few days, according to local county health departments.
The three deaths are in addition to two fatal cases of the flu in Lucas County reported Monday.
Toledo-Lucas County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Dave Grossman says two Lucas County residents died of the flu in the past few days. Grossman says one person was in his or her 60's, while the other was in his or her 70's.
The Monroe County Health Department says a middle-aged Monroe County resident with other medical issues died of the flu at a Detroit hospital this week.
That brings the total death toll due to the flu to five in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan since mid-December. Last year, there were zero flu-related deaths in Lucas County.
Health officials say more and more people are checking themselves into the hospital with severe flu symptoms this year. They say it's pretty typical this time of year, when students return to school and people return to work after the holidays.
The unusual thing about this year is that everyone is at risk.
"Looking at the recent deaths we've had, it appears to be attacking people that you wouldn't expect to be as vulnerable of dying from this disease," said Dr. Grossman. "It appears to be attacking all age groups across the board, so we're seeing age groups that you wouldn't expect to get this sick."
Officials say the H1N1 virus is the predominant strain going around this year, and that strain is in most flu shots. They say the current vaccine also protects against H3N2 and Influenza B.
We want to help you avoid getting the flu. Click here for a list of six germ hotspots you may not know about.
If you are infected, click here for a list of signs you should seek medical attention.