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Arkansas reports first flu death of season

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 14, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.

— The Arkansas Department of Health says one person has died from the flu.

Friday’s announcement marks the state’s first flu death of the season. Citing privacy laws, the health department did not release the age or name of the victim.

The health department’s deputy director, Dr. Nate Smith, says influenza should be taken seriously. Smith says the 2012 flu season has started earlier than normal and the number of reported illnesses in the state is increasing quickly.

The health department says pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems and those over 65 are most at risk for severe influenza.

The health department is urging Arkansans to get flu vaccines.

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