First half of flu season mild in Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

First half of flu season mild in Moffat County

CRAIG — Despite increased reports of influenza in Colorado and nationwide, the season has been relatively mild compared to previous years.

Influenza activity increased in the United States in the last week of January, according to the latest data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report also indicated influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and influenza B viruses are co-circulating.

In Moffat County — as well as throughout Colorado — flu season has been relatively mild compared to previous years, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data released the last week of January.

It’s about the halfway point of flu season, which typically lasts from October through May.

According to CDPHE, the 2018 flu season has so far resulted in the following:

Data on rates of confirmed infections and hospitalizations suggest that the first have of flu season has been relatively mild in Moffat County.

• A total number of 1,548 hospitalizations, of which 106 were reported during the week ending Jan. 26, 2019.

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• The highest hospitalization rate is among newborns to children age 4. 

• Patients’ visits to clinics in the final full week of January decreased by 5.5 percent but were still above the baseline level for the state of 5.05 percent.

• There have been 18 outbreaks associated with influenza.

• Mortality due to pneumonia and influenza in Colorado for the week ending Jan. 5, the most recent reported, was at 4.8 percent, which was lower than the previous week and below the national level of 6.9 percent. 

• One pediatric death associated with influenza A (H1N1) occurred during the week ending Jan. 12.

In contrast, the 2017-2018 influenza season in Colorado was rated by CDPHE as “extremely high severity,” with 4,650 reported hospitalizations — a rate of 85.2 per 100,000 people — with cases in 61 of Colorado’s 64 counties.

“This was the highest number of influenza-associated hospitalizations reported in a season to date,” CDPHE stated in its annual flu report.

A year earlier, during the 2016-17 flu season, CDPHE reported 3,340 people were hospitalized — a rate of 61.4 per 100,000 — with cases in 55 of the 64 counties.

The 2017-18 flu season, like the current flu season, resulted in one pediatric death and also similarly, “influenza A viruses were the predominant circulating strain among hospitalized cases until a shift to influenza B viruses occurred the week ending Feb.10, 2018,” stated the CDPHE report.

While more severe, the 2017-2018 influenza season peaked earlier compared to the previous seasons, with most cases reported during the week ending Dec. 30, 2017.

It’s too soon to tell if flu has peaked in Colorado, and experts say it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.