NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Officials at Vanderbilt University Medical Center say at least 17 Middle Tennesseans have died from the flu.
The Tennessean newspaper reports the deaths come from Davidson and seven surrounding counties. This year's outbreak has also sent at least 498 Middle Tennesseans to the hospital.
The numbers show how much worse the flu season is this year compared with the entire 2012-2013 season when 11 people died and 437 were hospitalized.
Tennessee's peak flu months are usually January and February, even though flu season can stretch from late fall to spring.
Health officials say getting a flu shot is still the best protection from the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that most people over the age of 6 months get a flu shot.