An elementary school-aged child who lived in King County has died from flu complications, marking the first flu death in a King County child in 10 years, according to Seattle-King County Public Health.
It's not too late to get a flu shot in SC.
"This is the time of the season when we start to see influenza activity increase significantly", said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.
"We typically see the highest incidence of flu in early January and February, but we've seen a dramatic climb since about December 12, based on visits to the ED (hospital emergency department) and the labs that report to us", said Joni Hensley, the communicable disease supervisor for the Whatcom County Health Department. The length and severity of flu seasons remains unpredictable.
For the fifth week in a row the state reported "widespread activity" of the virus, with increases seen across SC. That is the highest weekly total of the season and pushed the total number of reported flu-related hospitalizations since the start of the season above 260.
"The only time it's too late to get the flu shot is after you've already gotten the flu", Lifshitz said.
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"We have a little more influenza-like illness activity then nationally", Landen said. See the DHEC website for information on where to get a flu shot.
Most of the people going to the hospital for the flu are in the Twin Cities metro area.
But influenza B doesn't let the youngsters off the hook.
"I urge everyone to get an annual flu vaccine and to stay home when sick to help prevent the spread of illness to these more vulnerable groups", continued Duchin.
"Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later", the agency said. The highest rates are in those 65 and older, followed by young children and adults ages 50 to 64.