An estimated six people are confirmed dead in Hidalgo County due to the flu -- one pediatric and five adult -- as the flu and flu-like illnesses continue to make their way around the country.
Flu deaths are difficult to confirm as the Texas Department of State Health Services does not require adult deaths to be reported, but Hidalgo County Public Affairs Director Karina Cardoza said the county monitored local clinics on their own.
"What Hidalgo County has been doing is active and sentinel surveillance," Cardoza said. "What that means is a team of epidemiologists are calling the hospitals and major health providers trying to keep track of it, but they’re only estimates. The only thing that’s required to report from the state of Texas is pediatric mortality."
Cardoza said the deaths were not due to flu alone but other underlying conditions like diabetes, hyper tension and respiratory illnesses. According to the state, the number of positive flu tests results so far was highest the week of Christmas, at 1,600 state wide. It dropped last week to 1,000.
In Bexar County, the University Health System has reported 218 cases of the flu in its hospital since the second week of December. Annually in the U.S., about 380,000 people are hospitalized by flu and 23,000 are killed by it or complications related to flu.