Flu rates in Colorado exceed the national average with 692 hospitalized this season

New data suggests hospitalizations could already be winding down.
3 min. read
Nice looks seen from the Colorado State Capitol. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) colorado; denver; mountains; skyline; kevinjbeaty;

Nice looks seen from the Colorado State Capitol. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The CDC reports flu activity is picking up across the country. And Denver County is seeing more flu hospitalizations than the national average.

The most recent data shows a downtick in flu-related hospitalizations, but the Colorado Department of Health and Environment reports it is too soon to know whether flu season has peaked.

Since Oct. 2, there have been 692 total flu-related hospitalizations in Colorado. Denver County has experienced the highest number of hospitalizations, with 110 cases reported, but El Paso County comes in a close second with 104. Colorado is reporting more hospitalizations from the flu this year than last year at this time, but significantly fewer than the 2014/2015 season. And according to new data, flu hospitalizations could are down for the week of Jan 14. Thanks, hand soap!

(Courtesy of CDPHE)

The CDC reports flu activity is picking up across the United States, with a cumulative rate of about 10 hospitalizations for flu per 100,000 people. By comparison, Colorado's rate is about 13 per 100,000 and Denver's is about 16.

Influenza type A is dominant this year, with 280 cultures testing positive for influenza A, subtype H3N2; 10 for H1N1; and 39 for influenza B. There are vaccinations available that cover both A and B (and two more strains) this year. Influenza tends to be more common in those under 6 months and over 65 years of age, so the CDC encourages vaccinations.

The CDC reported vaccinations prevented an estimated 5 million flu-associated illnesses and 71,000 flu hospitalizations in the 2015-2016 season. But as of early November, only about two in five nationwide had received flu vaccinations. Final vaccination estimates won't be available until September 2017.

Vaccinations are known to be only 50 to 60 percent effective in completely staving off the virus but can reduce symptoms, risk of death or possible re-infection by a different strand of flu if an individual has already been sick during a season.

Where to get a flu shot:

Flu vaccinations are available from primary care doctors and most pharmacies, including CVS, Safeway, Walgreens and Albertson’s for those 6 months of age or older. 

Or check out this flu vaccine finder, courtesy of the CDC:

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at [email protected] or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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