Doctors baffled by different flu strain popping up early in Colorado

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DENVER — A strain of the flu which tends to pop up in March and April is making its presence known around Colorado early this season and doctors don’t know why.

Typically, Influenza A appears early on in the flu season, which usually spans from late September to May. But out of the 293 reported hospitalizations due to the flu in Colorado so far this season, most are Influenza B.

“I’ve been following influenza for about 10 years as an infectious disease physician and I haven’t seen a season yet where Influenza B has predominant – so this is a first for us, at least in the last 10 years I’ve looked back at,” said Dr. Heather Young, an infectious disease physician at Denver Health Medical Center.

Denver Health has dealt with 197 of the reported cases in Colorado.

Influenza A and Influenza B cause the same sort of illness. According to Young, 95% of early flu cases are usually predominantly Influenza A and 5% are usually Influenza B. This season, Young said about 2/3 of the cases Denver Health has seen are Influenza B — and no one knows why.

“No, nobody knows [why],” she said. 

Flu-like symptoms include: fever, cough, chills, a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat and headaches.

Young suggests getting a flu shot if you haven’t already.

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