Washington Records First Flu Deaths Since 2019
The Washington Department of Health is reporting the first flu related deaths in the state since the 2019-2020 season.
The department reports three people, all over the age of 65, have died after testing positive for the flu influenza.
DOH says flu activity was historically low last season, likely because of increased COVID-19 precautions, such as mask wearing, remote learning, occupancy limits, and work from home measures.
There were 114 flu related death in the 2019-2020 season, including 36 deaths at this point in the year.
Hospitalizations across the state remain high due to omicron, and other respiratory viruses like influenza could overload them even more, said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, Chief Science Officer at DOH. Take steps now to get you and your family vaccinated against the flu. Vaccination will help keep you and your family healthy and out of the hospital, especially those with chronic health conditions.
A list of locations offering flu shots can be found here.
Flu Activity Continues To Rise In Spokane County Vaccination Is Best Protection
Media Contact: Kelli Hawkins | | 324-1539, c 994-8968
Spokane County adult is first reported flu death for the county, fourth death in state
SPOKANE, Wash. Although flu activity continues to be considered low in Spokane County, the virus claimed the life of a Spokane County adult this week Spokane Countys first flu-related death this season, according to Spokane Regional Health District . The patient was a woman in her 80s who had underlying health conditions.
“Unfortunately, this is an example of how serious flu can be,” said Dr. Francisco Velázquez, Spokane County health officer. Your best chance at protecting yourself and others is to get the flu vaccine.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Some people, such as those over the age of 65, young children, pregnant women, American Indian/Alaska Natives and those with certain health conditions, are at higher risk for serious flu complications.
Three other flu-related deaths occurred in Washington state this season, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health in their Washington State Influenza Update. Four Spokane County residents have been hospitalized with flu this season. At this time last season , there were no hospitalizations or deaths reported in Spokane County there were three deaths statewide.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or chills
Keeping Track Of Flu In Minnesota
Many people get sick with flu every year in Minnesota without ever seeing a doctor or reporting their illness. Therefore, MDH uses various indicators to find out how widespread the flu is in Minnesota each week, rather than trying to track every case. The MDH Public Health Laboratory also tests selected influenza specimens to monitor which flu strains are circulating each flu season.
Hospitals report to MDH when they have a patient admitted to the hospital with laboratory-confirmed influenza. Hospitals are asked to submit specimens to MDH-PHL for influenza testing. MDH provides guidance on infection control and outbreak management, including the use of antiviral medication for treatment and prevention.
Physicians and health care providers across the state help to monitor influenza throughout the flu season. Sentinel providers fill out a weekly report detailing the number of patients they’ve seen with influenza-like illness. They also submit additional influenza specimens to the MDH Public Health Lab according to the Sentinel Surveillance program guidelines.
Long-Term Care Facility Surveillance
Facilities report to MDH when they have a suspected or laboratory confirmed influenza outbreak. Specimens can be submitted to MDH-PHL for influenza testing. MDH provides guidance on infection control and outbreak management, including the use of antiviral medication for treatment and prevention.
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The Flu Vaccine Is Your Best Protection Against Flu
- DOH recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged six-months and older, including pregnant and nursing people. If you are 65 or older, talk to your provider about flu vaccine and other important vaccines for your age group.
- It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to protect you from flu. The flu vaccine does NOT protect against coronavirus, colds, or other viruses that cause respiratory illness.
- The flu vaccine keeps many people from getting the flu. Some people who get the flu vaccine may still get sick. If you do get the flu, the vaccine will help reduce the severity of your illness. It will also lower your chance of needing to go to the hospital.
- When you get the flu vaccine you will also protect your family and community.
- You may also stop flu by covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and staying home when you’re sick. Cloth face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the flu.
More Coronavirus Deaths Than Flu Deaths Reported In Washington This Season
SEATTLE Every day, researchers learn more about coronavirus but there’s still a lot of data needed to understand what we are up against.
For weeks, a common argument compared the coronavirus to the flu.
Even the President compared the flu to the coronavirus, Tweeting earlier this month So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
However, new numbers from the Washington Department of Health reveal a sobering reality.
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Over the weekend, the state reported a total of 96 deaths related to the coronavirus.
Flu deaths are reported weekly and the latest count through March 14 totaled 86 deaths in Washington state. Those are lab-confirmed deaths and it’s important to note the number is probably higher because of people not being tested.
Keep in mind, the flu season is trending down.
Health officials started tracking flu activity on Sept. 30, so the activity has been tracked for months.
We don’t know when exactly coronavirus started spreading, but the first case wasn’t identified until late January in the United States. The first death was reported less than a month ago.
With coronavirus, it could take longer for you to show symptoms, which could mean you spread it to more people.
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Pediatric Flu Deaths During 2019
CDC reported 1 new seasonal flu-related death in a child that occurred during the 20192020 season last week, bringing the total number of flu deaths in kids reported to CDC for that season to 199. Prior to 2019-2020, the 2017-2018 season had the highest reported number of pediatric deaths, with 188 pediatric deaths reported. This tragic milestone underscores the importance of vaccinating children.
Among the 199 reported pediatric flu deaths:
- 44% occurred in children younger than 5 years old
- 12 occurred in children younger than 6 months and thus too young to get a flu vaccine
CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine, especially children who are younger than 5 years of age or children of any age who have a high risk medical condition, because they are more likely to develop serious flu complications that can lead to hospitalization and death. Getting vaccinated has been shown to reduce flu illnesses, doctors visits, missed school days, and reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalization and death in children.
Health Officials This Week Reported An Increase In The Influenza A Virus While The B Strain Continued To Dominate Cases
Flu-related illnesses the week of Jan. 18 spiked to nearly 15 million cases nationwide as health officials from the Centers for Disease Control reported an additional 1,400 deaths since last week 15 of which were of children.
As influenza B which tends to affect children and young people more continued to dominate among tested cases, some regions are now reporting an increase in proportions of Influenza A compared to the B strain, according to the CDCs latest flu report.
Despite the increases, the flu virus continues to affect young people at an alarming rate. More than 50 percent of reported cases this flu season are in children and young adults under age 25. So far, 54 pediatric deaths have been recorded this flu season.
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Don’t Forget A Flu Vaccine This Season
Flu activity was kept low last season because of vaccination, social distancing, masking, school closures and limited travel. Now that pandemic restrictions are lifting, flu has a much higher chance of spreading. We can all do our part to prevent illness and hospitalizations caused by flu by getting vaccinated.
What Happened To Flu Season Doctors Say Flu Cases Are Lowest In Recorded History
VIDEO: Doctors say flu cases are lowest in recorded history
While the pandemic dominates every aspect of life everywhere, Doctors say something quietly remarkable is happening to another typically dangerous virus, leaving them with a question: What happened to the flu?
Statistics show flu numbers are not only very low, they might be the lowest seasonal numbers in recorded history.
In the last flu season, from 2019 to 2020, the CDC recorded 38,000,000 flu cases in the U.S., 405,000 were hospitalized, and 22,000 deaths from the virus.
In the last several months in Washington State, there have been zero documented deaths because of the flu.
Its not just a Puget Sound thing, its not just Washington State, its the entire country, said Dr. Paul Pottinger, who studies and teaches virus behavior and infectious diseases at UW Medicine.
In fact, this is happening on most of our planet.
Some doctors believe the low numbers could be attributed to mask wearing and staying away from people. Others theorize a benefit stems from the push to get the flu shot and the lack of international travel.
Any way you cut it, doctors say there are virtually no flu cases at all this season, a phenomenon they call one of the great mysterious vanishing acts of a virus theyve ever seen.
Dr. Pottinger partially credits the flu shot. As of Christmas Day, 192.3 million doses of flu vaccine had been given to people in the U.S., which is the most everdelivered.
Cox Media Group
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Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak Flu Season Blazes On In Washington State
Washington health care providers responding to the rapidly expanding coronavirus outbreak also must contend with an active influenza season that since October has resulted in 74 confirmed state deaths.
In Washington, the number of influenza deaths is considerably less than in some recent years. But this flu season, both in Washington and across the country, has been particularly hard on children. In Washington six children under 17 succumbed to the flu, most of them under 5 years old, according to state health statistics current through the end of February.
Flu deaths dont grab the headlines garnered by the escalating toll from the novel coronavirus, which in the Seattle area has led many public and private events to be canceled, schools to close and office workers to morph into telecommuters. But amid all this anxiety about a new virus, state public health officials are reminding residents of the continuing risks from flu strains, and urging older people and others at higher risk to check in with providers if they have a fever, cough or sore throat.
It is really important that those who are currently sick call their health care provider to see if they should be tested for influenza, Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state health officer, said during a briefing organized by Gov. Jay Inslee. Influenza is still in our community, and we do have anti-viral medication to treat influenza.
During the flu season, children are a major source of transmission.
Find Out What’s Happening In Across Washingtonwith Free Real
In Washington, where the first U.S. case of the new virus was diagnosed, health officials said none of the 23 other people tested for the illness received positive results.
So far this season in the U.S. a mortality rate from flu-like illnesses and pneumonia of around 7 percent, Dr. Charles Bailey, an infectious disease specialist with St. Joseph Hospital in Irvine, California, told Healthline. Clearly, if theres no panic concerning the current flu season which is a fairly normal one panic over domestic 2019 coronavirus situation doesnt seem justified at present.
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Flu Deaths Including 2 Children Confirmed In Washington State So Far This Season
OLYMPIA At least 21 people in Washington state have died of the flu so far this season, including two children who died, the state Department of Health reports.
The latest update from health officials says flu activity in the state is elevated, with more than 1,800 patients reporting flu-like systems during the last week of December alone the most recent period for which statewide data is available.
Nineteen deaths were confirmed across the state between September and December 2019, the first few months of the flu season. Two more have been confirmed in Snohomish County in the first week of January: a man in his 80s and a woman in her 30s.
Weekly Us Map: Influenza Summary Update
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Washington State Department Of Health Reports Three Flu
OLYMPIA – With flu activity across Washington rising to moderate levels, for the first time in roughly two years, the Washington State Department of Health is reporting multiple flu-related deaths. Three individuals, all age 65 or older, who tested positive for influenza A have died.
Last season, flu activity was historically low. The DOH believes increased COVID-19 precautions, such as mask wearing, remote learning, occupancy limits, and work from home measures taken during the pandemic contributed to those low numbers. The last time Washington reported a flu-related death was during the 2019-2020 flu season when there were 114 influenza-associated deaths, including 36 deaths at this point in the year.
Hospitalizations across the state remain high due to omicron, and other respiratory viruses like influenza could overload them even more, said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, Chief Science Officer. Take steps now to get you and your family vaccinated against the flu. Vaccination will help keep you and your family healthy and out of the hospital, especially those with chronic health conditions.
To prevent severe outcomes from the flu, DOH recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get their annual flu vaccine. For a list of locations, visit Vaccines.gov.
Although the timing and duration of flu seasons vary, flu activity typically peaks between December and February, but significant activity can last as late as May.
Influenza Is On The Rise And Washington For The First Time In A While And Three Seniors Recently Died From Flu
WASHINGTON Washington this week recorded its first flu-related deaths in almost two years, as influenza activity across the state rises to moderate levels, state health officials announced Wednesday evening.
The Washington State Department of Health said three seniors, all aged 65 or older, tested positive for influenza A and later died from related complications, marking the first instance of multiple flu deaths reported since the 2019-2020 flu season.
During that flu season, officials said Washington recorded 114 deaths, with three dozen confirmed by this point in the year. By comparison, flu activity during the 2020-2021 flu season ranks among the lowest on record, despite high rates of testing, which officials credit to measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19.
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Zero Flu Deaths Reported During This Season In Washington
SEATTLE The number of deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic is staggering, but there is one statistic that stands out: since coronavirus took hold in Washington, the number of deaths attributed to the common flu is zero.
With businesses closed, streets vacant, restaurants empty coronavirus has taken a costly toll on our communities. But one positive side effect of all that staying home is that influenza has been essentially wiped out this season.
“This year really has been a historic low for influenza,” said UW Medicine infectious disease specialist Dr. Nandita Mani.
It is the first time in recorded history, at least 100 years, there have been zero seasonal flu deaths in Washington. Last season, 114 deaths from flu were reported in the state.
“My biggest takeaway from all this is that many of the interventions we’re doing right now masks, social distancing, staying home when you’re sick those are really effective at preventing the spread of infections,” Mani said.
Perhaps the biggest reason no one has died from the flu is closed schools. Kids tend to be among the biggest spreaders of the flu, and with schools closed there was virtually no exposure.
Clearly, schools can’t remain closed forever, but Mani said lessons from the pandemic are clear if we want to keep the flu at bay for future seasons.
As Washingtonians eagerly begin another attempt at the reopening, health officials remind us humans have short memories.