This year’s flu strain has proven a deadly one

WYOMING – A recently reported flu-related death of a Fremont County child should serve as a gloomy reminder that influenza can be a serious disease and should not be overlooked as a threat, according to a Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) official.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said, “Unfortunately, the death of a Fremont County child has been reported to us this week. We know we have had likely at least 10 other deaths among adults in Wyoming this flu season. We continue to see widespread influenza across the state with indications of high activity levels. We do not know if we have yet reached this season’s peak or for how much longer flu will spread in the state.”

Harrist said what is happening with flu in Wyoming is consistent with other areas of the country. “While H3N2, an ‘A’ virus, has been dominant so far this season, we are now seeing a shift in Wyoming to some ‘B’ viruses,” she said. “Historically, seasons with high levels of H3N2 have been associated with more severe influenza illnesses with higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.”

Influenza is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.