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Hospitalizations for flu up 277% in Colorado

Colorado hospitals have admitted 566 people for influenza so far this season, marking a three-fold increase from the 150 admissions typically seen in the state by mid-December, according to the Denver Post.

Although she cannot point to one primary driver of the significant increase, State Epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy, MD, shared a few influential factors with the Post. The Southern Hemisphere experienced a similarly severe influenza season, and international travel may have affected Colorado. She also noted several cases of a flu strain that are particularly harmful to older adults, who are more likely to be hospitalized.

Dr. Herlihy said is it difficult to forecast whether hospitalization rates will change in the coming weeks or months. She said the high levels could drop off quickly or continue for a while.

The U.S. flu season runs from October through April. In that time last year, 3,340 people were hospitalized for influenza in Colorado and two children died.

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