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Early flu outbreak claims 7 in state

– Seven people in Indiana have died of influenza during what is considered one of the worst outbreaks in several years.

State health officials say the illness is spreading across Indiana sooner than usual this year.

Respiratory epidemiologist Shawn Richards tells The Indianapolis Star that most of the flu circulating now is an H3N2 virus that tends to be more severe than some other influenzas.

A weekly health department report on flu activity says five of those who died were older than 65 and two were under 18.

The next report will be released Wednesday.

Dr. Michael McKenna said it’s not too late for people to get flu shots. People develop immunity about two weeks after receiving the vaccine, and it protects against the strain that is circulating.

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