Flu has sent more than three times the number of people to the hospital in Colorado than usual | SummitDaily.com

Flu has sent more than three times the number of people to the hospital in Colorado than usual

By DANIKA WORTHINGTON / The Denver Post

Don't forget to wash your hands and cover your coughs as we head into the heaviest of the holidays — flu season is in full force, sending more than three times the number of people to the hospital than usual.

There have been 566 people hospitalized for influenza in Colorado, compared with the 150 cases typically logged by mid-December, state health officials say. Conversely, norovirus outbreaks have been light.

"We're seeing a pretty severe influenza season so far," state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. "We're having roughly three times the usual number of cases at this point in the year."

Although it's difficult to pinpoint what is causing the high numbers, Herlihy said the southern hemisphere had a similarly severe influenza season, which could impact Colorado due to international travel. Additionally, there have been several cases of a strain that's particularly harmful to older adults, who are more likely to be hospitalized.

The flu season in the U.S. starts Oct. 1 and lasts through April. Last year, 3,340 people were hospitalized in Colorado and two children died. The state tracks the flu through influenza-like illnesses at clinics and hospitalizations, and through pediatric deaths, of which there have been none so far.

Read the full story on denverpost.com