Influenza Hits Wyoming Hard, Claims Life of Child in Fremont County

A recently reported flu-related death of a Fremont County child should serve as a sad reminder that influenza can be a serious disease and should not be overlooked as a threat.
That’s according to an official at the Wyoming Department of Health. Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with the Department, says that influenza is widespread across the state with indications of high activity levels. However, she says that it is unknkown whether or not we have reached this season’s peak, or for how much longer flu will spread in the state.
Harrist says that last week, a child in Fremont county died from influenza, adding to a growing list of at least 10 other adult deaths in the state. She says that the H3N2 virus has been dominant this season, but some other forms of the virus are beginning to appear.
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.
This influenza season has claimed the lives of many people around the country, including some who would be considered the picture of health. The death of a high school freshman in California was reported on CBS news on Friday, and a health and fitness trainer in Texas succumbed to the illness last month after contracting the Type A influenza virus. The Centers for Disease Control reports that since October 1st, over 17,000 confirmed cases of influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported.
Harrist says that common-sense measures can help slow or prevent influenza’s spread, such as staying home from work, school, day care and errands when you are ill; covering your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when you sneeze and cough and frequently washing your hands are also effective.