County officials investigating possible local flu death

Bartholomew County officials are investigating whether a county resident may have died from the flu.

The Bartholomew County Health Department is gathering medical records as part of an investigation into a death that is being investigated as flu-related, but no determination has yet been made, said Amanda Organist, the health department’s director of nursing.

If confirmed, it would be the first local flu death reported this flu season.

The Indiana Department of Health is reporting widespread flu throughout the state, with Hamilton, Marion, Shelby and St. Joseph counties reporting the largest number of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated deaths. Hamilton and Shelby counties have reported six deaths each so far this flu season; Marion and St. Joseph have each reported five, according to the state health department.

Statewide, as of Friday, 79 people had died from influenza-associated illnesses during the 2017-18 flu season. That’s up from 50 flu-related deaths reported one week earlier.

The largest number of Indiana flu deaths — 58 — have occurred among people 65 and older, according to the state. The second highest number of deaths — 14 — have occurred in victims ages 50 to 64.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.