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Colorado experiencing significant flu activity


DENVER— Influenza activity continues to increase in the United States, and most of the country is now experiencing high levels of influenza, according to CDC’s latest FluView [1] report.

Dr. Chris Urbina, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment continues to recommend influenza vaccination for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season and antiviral treatment as early as possible for people who get sick and are at high risk of flu complications.

Dr. Urbina said, “While the timing of influenza seasons is impossible to predict, based on past experience it’s likely that flu activity will continue for some time.”

As of Jan. 12 the state has reported a total of 674 cases, from 36 counties, of people hospitalized with the flu. Two additional pediatric deaths were confirmed (one each from Denver County and El Paso County), bring the total of pediatric deaths from flu this season to four.

“Anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now,” said Dr. Urbina. “It’s important to remember that people who have severe influenza illness, or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, should get treated with influenza antiviral medications if they get flu symptoms – regardless of whether or not they got vaccinated. People who are ill with the flu don’t need to wait for a positive laboratory test to start taking antivirals.”

So far this season, most (91 percent) of the influenza viruses that have been analyzed at CDC are like the viruses included in the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine. The match between the vaccine virus and circulating viruses is one factor that affects how well the vaccine works, but other factors are involved. Based on a vaccine effectiveness study just completed by CDC, this year’s vaccine is estimated to prevent 62 percent of influenza requiring a doctor visit. While this isn’t ideal, vaccination is still the best prevention measure available.

Dr. Lisa Miller, state epidemiologist, said, “There is still a supply of flu vaccine available in the state. You first should check to see if your doctor has vaccine available. This way, your doctor can document your vaccination. If your doctor is not offering vaccinations, they also are available at some grocery and drug stores.”

It is important to note that retail pharmacies and clinics may not be able to offer influenza immunizations to young children. It’s best to check with the retail outlet before making the trip to be immunized.

Lastly, local public health agencies may also have a limited supply of flu vaccine.


Priority groups recommended for vaccination


When to seek care immediately

For Children

For Adults


Flu symptoms can include


To help protect yourself and others from flu


Click here more information about influenza [2] and to view the weekly Colorado flu surveillance report. Influenza information is also available through the COHELP line, metro area/local 303-389-1687, and statewide 877-462-2911.