- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota health officials say the first death related to the flu in the state has been reported.

State epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger says the patient was a Hutchinson County resident in the 80-89 age group.

Kightlinger says the state has seen 144 lab-confirmed flu cases during the 2014-2015 season. Forty-eight people have been hospitalized.

State health officials reported this week that South Dakota’s flu activity level has increased from “regional” to “widespread,” the highest level of flu activity. Widespread activity indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state.

Health officials are urging residents to get the flu vaccine.

Common signs of the virus include abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, sore throat and cough.

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