15 flu-related deaths in Idaho


by Associated Press & KTVB


Posted on January 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:19 AM

BOISE -- State public health officials now say the number of flu-related deaths this season is 15.

Two-thirds of those deaths have been reported in the southwest corner of the state.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says Idaho typically has about a dozen flu-related deaths each season. The flu season begins Oct. 1.

Medical experts tell us unfortunately they are expecting to see even more flu related deaths in the next few months. They say this year's strain is especially affecting older adults.

The victims were all over the age of 50.

“There are a lot of different strains of influenza virus, and the particular one circulating this year is a strain that tends to be harder on the older individuals," Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Deputy State Epidemiologist.

Dr. Tengelsen tells us the vaccine is still the best way to fight the flu.

She says while this strain is hard on older adults, she wants to remind everyone that children still need to get vaccinated as well.

Dr. Tengelsen says there is still plenty of pediatric vaccine available, but adults should double check their location before going to get the vaccine.

Experts tell us this flu season started earlier than normal and also peaked earlier than normal.

The flu season officially ends on May first.

The last severe season for Idaho occurred in 2003-04 when 28 deaths tied to influenza were reported.