12 UF Shands patients have died of flu since Oct

12 UF Shands patients have died of flu since Oct

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Researchers at the University of Florida are trying to figure out why so many people have died from the flu this year. They say the number of cases aren't up but the severity of the flu has become more deadly.

Officials at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville say 12 people have died of flu there and 150 more are still hospitalized because of the virus. 

"It is a high number and that's what got us concerned," said Dr. Glenn Morris, UF Director Emerging Pathogens Institute.

Dr. Morris says the death rate of the flu has sky rocketed in the Gainesville area since October compared to years past.

According to the State Health Department, one child from Palm Beach County died last year from the flu. But the department does not keep track of the number of cases or the number of deaths in adults.

Hospital officials didn't say how many of the 150-plus patients with the flu received the flu vaccine. But Alachua County Health Department Administrator Paul Myers speculated it was very few. He says the vaccine is highly effective.

Officials say none of the flu victims were children.

Health officials at Shands Hospital say the best way to protect against the virus is to get the flu shot.

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