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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Public Health Department says in its latest report that 157 Iowa residents have died of flu-related illnesses since Oct. 1 — the worst flu season since the swine flu outbreak in 2009.

The department says that at this point last flu season, just 50 confirmed flu deaths had been reported in Iowa.

A federal report released Friday says there are signs the national outbreak could be easing, but illness rates remain higher than normal.

Public health experts say a flu shot is still worth getting. Vaccinated patients can still come down with the flu, but their symptoms are likely to be briefer and less severe.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. The illness typically lasts two to seven days.