- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Three more people in Oklahoma have died from the flu, the State Department of Health reported Thursday, adding to the record number of influenza-related deaths in the state.

The department said 51 people have now died as a result of the viral disease during the current flu season that started in late September. The previous record of 46 flu-related deaths in 2009, the year that Oklahoma health officials began tracking the statistic, was first broken last week.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the flu outbreak in Oklahoma is considered regional, meaning influenza has been confirmed in at least two - but fewer than half - of the regions in the state.

Tulsa County is leading the death count for the current season with nine, followed by Comanche County with six and Oklahoma County with four. Pittsburg and Wagoner counties have each had three flu-related deaths. Carter, Cleveland, Creek, Le Flore, Logan, Muskogee and Washington counties have each had two.

The largest number of deaths - 19 - were in the 50-64 age group, while 18 deaths were reported among those 65 and older.

Twelve deaths were reported in the 18-49 age group, while four were among children age 4 and younger.

The health department reports a combined total of 1,202 hospitalizations and deaths due to the flu during the current season. Those include the three deaths and 17 people hospitalized during the past week.

The flu season generally runs from late September to late April or early May, health officials said.

Symptoms include having a fever, chills, a cough, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea.

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