The 2018-2019 influenza season officially began on September 30th and is anticipated to run through May 18, 2019. For the week ending November 3, 2018, the Colorado Flu Report showed 4 additional influenza-associated hospitalizations had been reported. The total number of hospitalizations since the beginning of the 2018-19 season is now 18. Influenza-like illness reported by Kaiser Permanente and Primary Care Partners has increased from 3.2% to 3.6%. Sentinel hospital labs tested 1,004 specimens and 2 (0.2%) were positive for influenza. There has been 1 outbreak associated with influenza reported for the 2018-19 influenza season. Mortality due to pneumonia and influenza in Colorado is below the U.S epidemic threshold but increased from 2.8% to 4.7%, still below the national level of 5.4%. No influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported.
Grand County Public Health investigates influenza-associated pediatric deaths and influenza-associated hospitalizations. As of today, Grand county has zero in both of those categories for the 2018-2019 influenza season. “I hope it stays that way! Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict when and how the flu season will affect the county with the numerous variables involved”, said Grand County Public Health Nurse, Laura Scheening RN, BSN.
“Since this year’s flu vaccine has the influenza A H3N2 subtype component in the flu vaccine, we are hopeful that we will not see the illnesses and death rates as high as 2017-2018 flu season”, said Scheening, adding “H3N2 was the main culprit last year”.
Scheening confirmed that the influenza virus is now in the county. There are reports from local Primary Care Providers, emergency departments and urgent care facilities in Grand County that have had positive influenza cases.
To stay healthy this winter and avoid the flu, Scheening recommends the following:
- Good hand hygiene
- Get your flu shot
- Proper cough/sneeze etiquette
- Stay home from work/school if sick
- See your Primary Care Provider for evaluation
To view the current Colorado Flu Report and past information, for comparison, visit: colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/influenza