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The winter flu season has barely begun, but Lancaster County has already reported one flu-associated death.

That death is one of two flu-related deaths reported in the state. Both victims were older than 65.

The deaths are a reminder that flu shots can be an important protection.

Flu activity in Lancaster County remains low, and the state reports flu activity as sporadic.

It’s never too late to get a flu shot, said Tim Timmons, with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Most flu seasons see more than one strain of influenza, with different strains showing up later in the season. So getting a flu shot is always a good idea, he said.

The county is also seeing a rise in pertussis, or whooping cough, particularly among children 6 to 18 years old. Adults usually don’t go to see a provider and therefore are not tested and not reported to the department, he said.

Many of the children with pertussis have been vaccinated, he said. Pertussis is milder if people are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

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Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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