DALLAS — Sick patients continue to crowd North Texas clinics with flu symptoms.
Six people in Tarrant County have died from flu so far this season. Dallas County reports 35 flu deaths; Denton and Collin counties report four each; and one death has been reported in both Wise and Hunt counties.
Despite the numbers, the percentage of positive flu tests in Dallas County dropped for the third week in a row.
The statistics led Dallas County health authority Dr. Christopher Perkins to deliver some potentially good news to county commissioners on Tuesday.
"It appears that we might have started a continual decline, where we might have peaked, as far as the flu," he said.
Health officials say influenza activity is still high and hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise.
But swine flu — which is a Type A strain — isn't the only variety going around now. A rise in Type B influenza has been reported in both Dallas and Tarrant counties.
"The next several weeks will give us a better indicator," said Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson.
At least one of the flu deaths in Tarrant County is attributed to the Type B strain. Type B flu tends to affect older adults more severely; H1N1 swine flu has been more dangerous for healthy adults this time around.
Health officials urge residents who haven't been vaccinated to do so now to prevent a different — and just as deadly — strain of flu from surging.
To help prevent the continued spread of influenza, the Dallas Independent School District sent a note home to parents, urging them to keep sick students home for 24 hours after fever subsides without medication.