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Texas H1N1 Deaths Prompt Some To Get Flu Vaccinations

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Texas already has a higher than average number of flu cases. In fact, averages here are some of the highest in the country. Now, a particularly dangerous and deadly strain of the flu is spreading across the state.

H1N1 flu cases were first reported in the Houston area. So far, six people have died from the virus there. Today it was also reported that a person in Austin has died from the same strain.

News of the deadly cases has doctors in North Texas on alert and again pushing people to get their shots, if they haven't already.

Heath care workers have been spreading the message since August and now the concern has heightened.

Dorothy Suhuba-Baruti had never done it until Friday. For her husband, Antonio, it was only the second time. Both rolled up their sleeves to get the flu vaccine.

Message from others prompted the action. "I talked to a lady last night, she had pneumonia [and] she was in the hospital. I think if she had gotten the flu shot in the beginning, I don't thing that would have happened.  She was very, very sick," Suhuba-Baruti said concerned.

Flu cases throughout North Texas are on the rise. Some doctor's say they are seeing up to 20 cases a day.

Doctor Bryan Wasson said families can combat the frightening illnesses that come with the flu, if they simply sit for a shot of a vaccine that's readily available right now. "Remember, once you receive the vaccine, it takes two weeks to give it a robust antibody response, so you're now protected against it," explained Dr. Wasson, with Baylor Medical Center at Irving.

The Dallas County Health Department has campaigned for the last three months for residents to get inoculated against the flu, before the virus starts to spread.

News of the flu related deaths in the Houston area might have jolted some into action. Other people who talked to CBS 11 News on Friday said the shots are a part of their health tradition.

Dallas resident Kathy Lanham said, "If I can avoid getting sick, and it's something as easy as getting a shot, I'm going to do that. To me it's common sense."

This year's vaccine also stops the H1N1 virus. That was not the case four years ago, during another deadly outbreak.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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