Pueblo Sees First Flu-Related Death; Vaccine Encouraged

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Pueblo County Health officials say a resident there has died from issues related to the flu, and 60 have been hospitalized since October. Statewide, cases are occurring a month earlier in many locations. KRCC's Tucker Hampson reports.  

About 100 people have been hospitalized so far this year statewide as compared to 85 at this time last year.  Lisa Miller, state epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Health, says a change in the flu virus may have lessened the vaccine effectiveness, but it’s still important.

"It still may provide some protection, and provide protection against hospitalization or dying from the flu," says Miller. "So it’s still important to get a flu vaccination. That’s the best weapon that we have against influenza."

Miller says it’s important to prevent spreading the flu by washing hands often and through steps including limiting contact with sick individuals and staying home while sick or if a fever persists. High risk individuals include the elderly and the very young.