FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) –The flu has claimed two more lives in Denton County, including that of a young girl who did not receive a flu shot.  Authorities say both victims, the girl and a man in his 70s, had underlying health conditions.

At least 20 flu deaths have been reported across North Texas – 17 in Dallas County, one in Tarrant County, two in Denton County.  Two of the Dallas County victims lived in Garland, were both under 50 and had no underlying health conditions, according to the Garland Health Department.

Based on the way the virus is spreading, Denton County health officials say they anticipate increased flu activity for the next several weeks.

Dallas County is seeing more numbers of people sick with the flu and more requiring emergency medical care.  Doctors at Medical City Dallas saw seven times as many flu patients the week of December 29 as compared to the week of December 8.  Nearly all of those patients have tested positive for the Flu A strain.

“Half of the people when they show up in the hospital are so sick they have to go to the intensive care unit,” said Dr. Cedric Spak, Baylor Medical Center infectious disease specialist.

Dr. Spak says its not too late to get a flu shot.  The vaccine can helps curtail the spread of the virus to you and others around you.

“It’s not what we’ve seen before, and it does sound like the flu this year is more severe, as it was worried that it could be,” said Dr. Spak.

Spak says it’s not clear why this year’s strain is more severe, but it appears young healthy adults may be just as vulnerable to the flu this year, as the elderly or the young.

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