BOISE - Public health officials say they are concerned at a recent jump in the number of influenza-related deaths in Idaho.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has received five new reports in one week of Idahoans who died from flu-related illnesses, bringing the season total to 13 deaths.
According to health officials, that total is the largest number at this point in the season than in the same timeframe in the previous seven seasons.
The announcement comes just a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported widespread seasonal influenza activity throughout the state.
“Flu is widespread in Idaho and may be especially severe this season,” said Randi Pedersen, the state influenza surveillance coordinator. “Unfortunately, this flu season is far from over."
Pedersen said flu activity in Idaho typically peaks in January or early February, and urged anyone who has not received a flu vaccination, to get one as soon as possible.
"Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your family from this serious illness," Pedersen said.
Last flu season, 72 people were reported to have died from flu-related illnesses in Idaho, which far exceeded the annual average of 23 deaths.