Widespread flu continues to claim lives in South Carolina as a new death was reported today by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The latest fatality, a Sumer County resident, raised the death toll to 23.

Meanwhile, the Charleston area leads the state in the number of people with confirmed influenza. One death has occurred here, a 73-year-old James Island woman.

“We continue to regularly see influenza in both adult and pediatric patients. Most cases continue to occur among those aged 18 to 64 years,” said Dr. Cassandra Salgado, associate professor of medicine and infectious diseases program director at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Other than a Barnwell County child, all of the deaths from flu complications have occurred in people ages 50 and above, said Jim Beasley, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Visits to clinics and emergency rooms remain well above levels seen this time last year. For the week ending Jan. 12, more than 2,000 people were positive for the rapid flu test compared to 48 for the same time last year. The top three counties for flu-positive people were Charleston, 423, Greenville, 384, and Horry, 205.

Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.