South Dakota records its first flu death of the season

South Dakota has reported the death of a Shannon County resident with influenza A with underlying health conditions in the 30-39 age group as its first influenza death of the 2010-2011 flu season.

South Dakota has reported 80 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu with 32 flu-related hospitalizations so far this season, ABC KSFY reports.

"This unfortunate death is a reminder that flu can be a very serious illness," Dr. Lon Kightlinger, the state epidemiologist for the Department of Health, said, according to ABC KSFY. "Annual vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu and the good news is there is plenty of vaccine available this year. With flu cases now increasing it's not too late to get the vaccine to prevent you and your family."

While flu vaccination is recommended for everyone, it is especially important for groups that are at higher risk for complications. These groups include people over 50 years of age, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women. Those who are health-care workers or household contacts of high-risk populations, especially those with young infants in the house, should also receive the influenza vaccination.

Influenza is a viral respiratory illness that can lead to sudden extreme tiredness, fever, headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose, and muscle aches. The flu can spread when an infected person sneezes, talks or coughs, sending the extremely contagious virus into the air.