Flu kills 4 Colorado children; worst toll since 2003 | AspenTimes.com

Flu kills 4 Colorado children; worst toll since 2003

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Three toddlers and an infant have died of complications from the flu since mid-January, making this Colorado’s worst flu season for children in five years.

State health officials said Thursday that two of the children had not been vaccinated, while the other two had received one of two recommended flu vaccinations.

Two died in the Denver area and two died on the Western Slope. At least two had other serious medical conditions before getting the flu.

The state Department of Public Health and Environment said it’s too early to say whether the deaths signal a bad flu season or whether the increase is random.

In 2003, the flu killed 12 children in Colorado. Since then, no more than two children had died in any single season.

Colorado is one of 16 states that reported widespread flu activity earlier this month, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So far this year, the state health department has tallied 152 hospitalizations from flu. Last year the state recorded a total of 1,004 flu-related hospitalizations, with cases peaking in late February.

Health officials recommend vaccinations for children 6 months old through 18 years, a change from last season’s recommendation of 6 months to 6 years.

A common drug used to treat flu symptoms, Tamiflu, is not effective against this year’s predominant flu strain. People such as the elderly, young children and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk for serious flu complications.

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