Two Michigan children die of flu

Two children in Michigan recently died as result of influenza infection as state health officials report a higher number of influenza cases than usual for this time of the season.

Angela Minicuci, a public information officer for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said that an infant in the southwest portion of the state and an adolescent from central Michigan died last week, according to

Michigan reported 149 confirmed cases of the illness as of December 20, up 63 cases from the previous week.

"We typically don't see this volume of cases (until) the end of January or February," Minicuci said, reports.

Minicuci said that most of the cases have been in the southern portion of the state. She also said many of the cases go undiagnosed and unreported, although there has been a noticeable increase this year over previous years. She had no information about the children's ages or their counties of residence.

Mary Mazur, a spokeswoman for Michigan's Wayne County Department of Public Health, encouraged residents to get the flu vaccine, which she said protects against the three most commonly circulating flu strains. The Wayne County Department of Public Health recently lowered the price of its flu shots to encourage more takers.