A Utahn has died from influenza — the state’s first confirmed death of the current flu season.
According to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, an adult under the age of 65 died recently of influenza type A. The department did not provide any more details about the person, who lived in one of the five counties it serves: Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington.
According to SWUPHD epidemiologist Kassidy Peterson, 36 people — from “infants to the elderly” — have been hospitalized with the flu in those five counties this season. Statewide, more than 170 people have been hospitalized with influenza.
“It’s not too late to get vaccinated,” Peterson said, “and we urge everyone to do so — especially those whose age or health condition makes them more vulnerable.”
Influenza is contagious and can spread by droplets from infected people when they talk, cough or sneeze, according to the SWUPHD. Symptoms may include rapid onset of fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue and vomiting. Diarrhea is also a symptom, but is more common in children than adults.
Nationally, recently released figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the nation may be headed into a bad flu season, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
As of the last week of December, health departments in 46 states reported “widespread” flu activity. And the percentage of patients with flu symptoms visiting medical clinics shot up, almost to the peak reached at the height of the 2017-18 flu season, which was the most severe in a decade, the Times reported.