Flu deaths are rising in Utah

Hundreds of more cases reported

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) -- The number of flu cases and flu deaths are rising. We are nowhere near peak season for influenza which happens sometime in February.
So far, Salt Lake County confirms 9 flu related deaths since October 1, 2017.

"Nine deaths are definitely 9 too many. Sadly, with that many we are on track with the number we see each season," IIene Risk, Epidemiology Bureau Director.

Last year there were 20 deaths through April 17, 2017.

Besides the 9 flu deaths in Salt Lake County, none of them are reportedly children.

"A lot of older people have influenza. The predominant strain is Influenza A H3N2 which causes a lot of hospitalization and can result in death."

Across the U.S.: There have been 13 pediatric deaths.

Utah is reporting at least 500 flu cases to date with more than half coming from Salt Lake County.

"Of the 250 cases, we have less than 20% who received a vaccine. It's not too late," said Risk. 

The CDC and local health departments say the vaccine is your best defense and is far better than the 10 percent effectiveness widely reporting early in the season.

"It's at least 30 percent they estimate, effective. It's too soon to tell but it increases the odds 30 percent better of not getting influenza if you don't get the vaccine at all."

Salt Lake County is one of only a few places in the country that report adult flu related deaths.  
The Utah Health Department, like most states across the country only tracks pediatric flu deaths. Utah has no confirmed pediatric flu deaths so far.

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