244 people hospitalized with flu in Colorado

DENVER – The Colorado health department said Friday that 244 people have been hospitalized with the flu this season. Last year only 32 people were hospitalized.

The state has also recorded two pediatric deaths associated with influenza.

One death was in Denver county and the other was in Jefferson county.

“The two deaths occurred between mid-November and mid-December,” said Mark Salley of the health department. “Both were children under age 3, and one had an underlying health condition.”

The Centers for Disease control has said the vaccine for the 2012-13 flu season “is well-matched to influenza strains circulating nationally this season,” Salley said.

“Vaccination is the safest and most effective tool we have to prevent influenza. Everyone older than 6 months should receive a flu vaccination annually,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Lisa Miller.

“There is an abundant supply of flu vaccine available in the state,” said Miller. “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 are readily available at a variety of grocery and drug stores.”