By Whitney Burbank, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – According to the Boston Public Health Commission, the flu has claimed at least five lives in Boston this season and the strain of H1N1 is hitting young and middle age adults hard.

People age 18-44 are almost half of the 713 confirmed flu cases in the city so far.

“We’ve had five deaths from influenza in the city of Boston including people who are relatively young,” said BPHC Director of Infectious Disease Bureau Dr. Anita Barry.

A BPHC spokesman said 37-year-old Brian Loewen is included in the five fatalities. Loewen just got married in January and shortly after the wedding he was hospitalized with the flu. Loewen died of complications from H1N1 last week

“The predominant influenza strain circulating this year is H1N1 the same as we had in the pandemic in 2009,” said Dr. Barry. “(Young and middle age adults) have a very low vaccination rates so they’re not protected.”

According to Watertown Doctors Express Director Dr. Scharukh Jalisi, the urgent care facility is seeing a majority of flu suffering patients in the 18-40 age range. Jalisi said he’d rather see those patients take precautionary measures, “Influenza season will continue and its better to be safe than sorry.”



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