Flu Widespread Across The Nation, Including Idaho

Jan 11, 2013

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today said the flu is now widespread in 47 states. That's up from 41 states the week before. 

Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho’s deputy state epidemiologist, says the Gem state is no exception.  “We’ve seen a steady rise in hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, so flu is here.”

Tengelsen says the flu is hitting earlier than normal.  Officials start tracking the flu season in October, but usually the flu takes hold in February or March.  “This is one of the earliest flu seasons we’ve seen in decades, now that isn’t to say it won’t end earlier as well, we just don’t know at the moment,” Tengelsen says.

Since October, eight people in Idaho have died from influenza-related causes.  That compares to a typical year when 12 people die in Idaho from the flu.   

The last severe season was in 2003 - 2004 when 28 people died.

Tengelsen says hospitals in Idaho are reporting high numbers of people coming to the emergency room with the flu.

She has three tips for people to avoid the flu.  Get vaccinated, wash your hands frequently and avoid anyone who is sick.

There’s still time to get vaccinated says Tengelsen. She believes the vaccine is well-matched to the dominant flu strains that are circulating in Idaho.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio