South Dakota Department of Health Reports First Flu Death of the 2023-2024 Flu Season


South Dakota Department of Health Reports First Flu Death of the 2023-2024 Flu Season

PIERRE, SD – The Department of Health is reporting the first influenza death of the 2023-2024 season, a Minnehaha County resident in the 80-89 age group.

“Influenza can be a very serious illness,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “Taking preventative measures like regularly washing hands, covering your cough, and getting vaccinated against flu will protect you and your family.”

Clayton noted it is still early in the flu season with only 32 lab-confirmed flu cases and three hospitalizations reported; however, an average of 35 South Dakotan deaths are reported each year.

During the flu season, we encourage all South Dakotans to take the following preventative actions to help slow the spread of the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and
  • Stay home if you are sick.

In addition to preventative actions, yearly flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone age six months and older. Groups like pregnant women, children younger than five years, people over 65 years, and people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for flu-related complications. Healthcare workers and household contacts of high-risk populations, such as those with young infants, should also be vaccinated.

A list of participating locations offering flu vaccines in your community can be found online. For more information and the latest resources visit

Influenza is a virus spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, body or muscle aches, and runny or stuffy nose.

At the heart of the Department of Health’s mission is a simple yet profound goal: to protect and improve the health of all South Dakotans. The department is entrusted with the vital task of promoting wellness, preventing disease, and ensuring access to quality healthcare for all South Dakotans across our great state.