County reports third flu death

2016-17 could become state’s deadliest season this decade

— Yakima County is reporting three flu-related deaths in the past month.

The state Department of Health released the latest flu season figures on Friday.

Statewide, there have been 148 flu deaths since the 2016-17 season began, officials said. That number is already more than double the total of deaths (68) for the entire 2015-16 season.

At this rate, the current flu season will be the deadliest of the decade, as 2014-15 saw 157 flu-related deaths.

All but 20 of the flu fatalities this season have been those ages 65 and older, state records show.

Yakima County health officials said the previous two flu deaths in January were patients in that age bracket.

Klickitat County reported one flu death this season and Benton County none.

Yakima County reported 30 new cases of respiratory syncytial virus for the week ending Jan. 28. That brought the county’s total to 327 cases for the current flu season.

And the county has 510 positive results for rapid-antigen flu tests this season.

“The flu can make people really sick, and over the past few weeks there has been a dramatic rise in influenza activity,” state health officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said. “People who are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about their illness, should contact their health care provider.”



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