H1N1 shot (credit: Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

H1N1 shot (credit: Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Flu cases are on the rise in North Texas. Eight people have died from the H1N1 strain of the flu in Dallas County thus far this season. Officials in Denton County reported five times as many cases two weeks ago.

The news comes as many area children prepare to go back to school tomorrow following Christmas break. County health officials said they are concerned their return to school will worsen the spread of the virus.

“Parents should not be taking their kids to school if they are ill. What we saw last year during flu season is parents taking sick kids to school and they were infecting other kids,” said Dallas County Health Director, Zachary Thompson. “So again check with your primary physician and if you observe your children aren’t feeling well, please contact your personal physician or your school and discuss the next steps.”

Adding to Thompson’s concerns is the duration of the H1N1 virus lasting longer than the seasonal flu. The health department said it can last up to two weeks in healthy children.

Dallas County reported two pediatric flu-related deaths in January 2013.

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