SRHD: Flu season isn’t over yet

SRHD: Flu season isn’t over yet
Spokane Regional Health District

Although the flu season should be coming to a close, Spokane Regional Health District officials warn that a second wave of influenza is now hitting Spokane County.

Hospitalizations due to the flu peaked in January, declined in February, and then unexpectedly increased again in March. The increases represent both A and B strains of the virus, although the number of those with the B-strain virus is significantly higher than previous seasons.

In March 2018, there were 63 B-strain hospitalizations, compared to March 2017, when there were six B-strain hospitalizations. Officials believe a wave of influenza B could still be coming.

“We often see a late surge of influenza B during seasons when influenza A H3N2 was the predominant virus earlier in the season,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, SRHD health officer. “In the midst of already seeing higher than normal cases of influenza B, we also don’t know what the influenza B wave will look like.”

Nearly half of all local flu deaths this season were caused by the B-strain.

You can find more information about influenza and the influenza vaccine here or here.