The number of fatalities, according to a report released Friday, is seemingly on track with last year's rate at this time. The country, meanwhile, is grappling with what is on track to be the worst flu season in nearly a decade.
The number of flu-related deaths across Washington state this season reached 109 last week, up from 29 earlier this month, according to tallies by the state Department of Health.
This season’s fatalities, according to a report released Friday, are seemingly on track with last year’s rate at this time. The country, meanwhile, is grappling with what is on track to be the worst flu season in nearly a decade, with people seeking care at a rate rivaling the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
Of the deaths so far this season, state officials linked 82 cases to influenza A and 25 to influenza B, according to the report, which is the department’s latest compilation of flu data. In two cases health-care providers did not report a type. The agency releases such reports weekly, measuring the 2017-18 flu season over a 12-month period beginning in October.
Most people who died had underlying health problems or were elderly; one child younger than 4 was among the victims, the report shows.
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The fatality total is one less than last season’s number at this time, according to the report. Both years’ number of deaths are significantly higher than the state’s eight-year average of some 46 deaths annually during the same period.
So far, there have been 101 outbreaks of flu-like illness at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, the report shows.
With the increasing cases, hospital visits across the state are on the rise, too, said David Johnson, a spokesman at the department. Public-health officials urge people feeling flulike symptoms, ranging from a sore throat to vomiting, to contact their health-care provider before seeking help at a hospital to avoid “overburdening” staff and space in emergency rooms.
Despite the late date, public-health officials still recommend that everyone six months or older get flu shots. For more information, including treatment tips, check the department’s website.
The Associated Press and Seattle Times archives contributed to this report.