Oklahoma health officials say flu deaths exceed 250 in state

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Health officials say almost twice as many Oklahomans have died from influenza this season than any previous season on record.

The Oklahoma Department of Health said Thursday that 253 people have died from the virus since the flu season began on Sept. 1 -- the most fatalities since the agency began tracking the illness in 2009. The previous record death toll of 130 was recorded a year ago.

In addition, 4,551 people have been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms so far this season -- also a record. The Health Department says 1,146 people have been hospitalized with the flu in Tulsa County, more than any other county. Oklahoma County has the second-highest number of hospitalizations with 770.

Most influenza-related fatalities, 178, have occurred among people 65 years old or older.

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