Flu worst in century

Jeremy Browning

The flu has already struck more than 6,300 Coloradoans, long before the flu season has reached its peak, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported Wednesday.

More than twice as many confirmed flu cases have been reported this year than during the entire season last year, and this year’s total alone makes up almost half of the cases reported this century.

The state health department confirmed the flu-related deaths of two more children this week, bringing the number of flu-related child fatalities to five this year.

“All of our local physician offices are reporting seeing numerous ill patients with flu-like symptoms,” said Susan Bowler, the public health nurse manager for Routt and Moffat counties.

The Memorial Hospital reported 50 cases so far this season, Bowler said in a press release Friday. Bowler does not know how many total cases Craig has seen because private practitioners are not required to report positive influenza tests to local public health officials, such as the Visiting Nurse Association in Craig.

Bowler speculated that “because parents are bringing more of the ill children into the ER and doctors’ offices, it appears that more children are getting ill this year.”

The VNA also is seeing an increase in the number of children taking influenza immunizations this year.

However, Bowler said local schools are not reporting significant absentee rates yet this year.

Bowler advises families to be “diligent” in their hand-washing habits.

“Get your flu shot, it is not too late,” Bowler said.

Under her list of “to-dos,” Bowler said, “Do not send your child to school sick,” and, “Do not go to work sick.”

Bowler advised residents to see their medical providers if they become ill. Antiviral drugs are available, which can lessen the effects of the flu.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or

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