Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The number of flu-related deaths nationwide reached the epidemic threshold in the week ending Dec. 20, 2014.
Days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned
that the country could be in line for a "severe" flu season, the Idaho State Journal reports
that Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello is treating more patients suffering from the illness than usual.
According to a hospital official quoted by the Journal
, PMC has been seeing as many as 20 patients per day. What's worse, doctors said flu cases are much more severe this year, with some patients admitted to the hospital's Intensive Care Unit.
While the number of flu-related deaths is higher
nationwide than it was during this time last year, no deaths have been reported in Southeast Idaho. However, four people have died this season from flu-related causes in Ada, Kootenai and Payette counties, with the most recent death reported
Dec. 19, 2014 in Canyon County.
Health officials recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older, particularly those with high-risk factors for complications, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease or neurological conditions; pregnant women; those younger than 5 years and older than 65 years; and anyone with a weakened immune system.
Visit the CDC's flu page
for information on the vaccine.