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N.D. records first confirmed flu death of season

BISMARCK – North Dakota has recorded its first confirmed influenza death of the season.

The state Department of Health reported the death in its weekly flu update Thursday.

The woman who died was in her 30s and from northeastern North Dakota, and she had underlying medical conditions, said Jill Baber, the department’s influenza surveillance coordinator.

As of Thursday, the department reported 1,598 laboratory-confirmed flu cases since Sept. 1, up from 843 cases reported as of Jan. 9.

Based on tests, Baber said the vast majority of cases were probably caused by the Influenza A 2009 H1N1 strain, making this the first season since the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic that H1N1 has been the predominant strain.

The overall number of flu cases isn’t unusually high, but more cases are being confirmed in adults ages 20 to 49, leading to hospitalizations in a number of instances, she said.

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