Colorado’s flu-related hospitalizations peaked the week ending Jan. 4, but hospitals still are seeing new cases of flu, according to officials at the Colorado Department of
Public Health and Environment. Because the season is not over, people are urged to take measures to stop the spread of flu, including getting vaccinated, covering their cough, washing their hands frequently and staying home from work if they are sick.
Influenza surveillance shows the 2013-14 flu season peaked during the first week of January with 317 flu-related hospitalizations. This is the second highest number of flu-related hospitalizations reported during a single week since tracking began nine years ago. During the 2009 H1N1 Influneza Pandemic, 355 hospitalizations were reported during the week ending Oct. 17, 2009.
The dominant strain this flu season has been H1N1, the same strain that caused the 2009 flu pandemic. This season’s flu vaccination protects against H1N1.
As during the pandemic, when H1N1 viruses were predominant, preliminary data suggests that younger adults have been harder hit by flu this season. Other groups of people, like those with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people who are morbidly obese, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and young children, also were hard hit by H1N1 during the pandemic. Individuals who fall into these high risk groups are encouraged to get vaccinated, and to quickly see their doctor about a prescription for antiviral drugs if they do get sick with the virus. The drugs work best when taken within 48 hours of onset of flu.
By the week ending Feb. 8, a total of 1,448 flu-related hospitalizations had been reported in Colorado. During the 2012-13 flu season, the state had a total of 1,530 hospitalization from flu, with the last hospitalization being reported in May.
For more information on flu go to www.cdphe.state.co.us. The department’s Immunization Section also has Facebook and Twitter pages. To encourage Facebook friends to get vaccinated, check out the Do Something Easy Vaccine Pledge.