MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Upwards of 44 non-pediatric deaths potentially related to the flu are under investigation across the state, the latest data from the Alabama Department of Public Health indicates. ADPH says medical records have been requested for each to confirm the diagnoses.
The deaths date back to Jan. 11, the day Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state public health emergency.
A majority of the cases have been reported in the northern half of the state with 24 in the northern and northeastern parts while eight have been recorded in the Birmingham area. In contrast, the Mobile area has reported just a single death.
While the numbers sound scary, the Jefferson County Health Department tells WBRC they are average. However, ADPH has said while it hasn't tracked adult flu deaths in previous years, it is doing so in 2018.
Acting State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said on Jan 12 the state has a "crisis situation" but added, "we see flu every year at this time, and this is the normal seasonal flu that we typically see. There is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of the type of influenza that we are seeing, but we are seeing very large numbers and that's particularly been true for the past two to three weeks."
Alabama is far from alone.
Nationally, influenza is blanketing much of the nation for the third straight week. Flu is widespread in every state except Hawaii, with 39 states reporting high traffic to doctors last week, up from 32, according to the Associated Press.