Officials: 37 flu-related deaths confirmed across Georgia

ATLANTA - Georgia health officials say the number of flu-related deaths statewide has risen to 37.

Dr. J. Patrick O'Neal, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, told a news conference Wednesday the death toll could "grow considerably" before the current flu season ends. He encouraged Georgia residents to get flu shots if they haven't done so already.

All U.S. states except for Hawaii reported widespread flu in January, with doctor visits for flu-like symptoms hitting their highest level nationwide since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

Dr. Cherie Drenzek, Georgia's state epidemiologist, says 25 of the state's flu deaths were people age 65 and older. Only one child has died, and that person was an adolescent.

Drenzek said flu season should peak soon, but she expects infections to continue for weeks.

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