The flu epidemic was especially deadly last year. And our region was no exception. Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have died in the U.S. from the flu virus last season, including a record high of 180 children.  

Colorado CDC Lab Key In Fight Against Zika, West Nile

May 17, 2017
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Every summer a virus that can cause lifelong neurological damage and even death comes to Colorado. The West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes who feed on infected birds, and hot spots and outbreaks are common. In 2016, there were over 2,200 human cases across the country. Eight people died in Colorado from the virus.

At the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab in west Fort Collins, scientists work to combat West Nile and other vector-borne diseases, like Zika. Current CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat visited the lab, and spoke about their research and a surprising threat to American’s health.

New Flu Virus Jumped From Pigs To Humans At The Fair

Oct 31, 2016
Luke Runyon / KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Showing livestock at the county fair can be a great source of pride for a youngster in farm country. It can also be a source of a novel flu virus capable of starting a pandemic.

According to new findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 people – 16 of them children – tested positive for strains of influenza never before seen in humans after attending agricultural fairs in Ohio and Michigan in August of this year.

Colorado Has Yet to Hit 'Peak Flu'

Dec 16, 2015
Carol E. Davis / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The number of flu cases is beginning to tick up in Colorado. In the latest report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 12 people have been hospitalized for influenza since reporting began in Oct. 2015. The previous two seasons were moderately severe, so this slow start is welcomed by health officials.

“We really can’t say a whole lot about why the flu season does what it does,” said state epidemiologist Lisa Miller.“Last year [2014] we had a relatively early and severe flu season.”

Farmers Prepare For Autumn Bird Flu Flare Up

Sep 1, 2015
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and agriculture officials are gearing up for another round of bird flu this fall, an outbreak they fear could be worse than the devastating spring crisis that hit egg layers and turkeys in the Midwest, wiped out entire farms and sent egg prices sky-high.

The potential target of the highly pathogenic avian flu this fall could be broilers, or meat chickens, as the outbreaks have been triggered and carried by wild birds, which will be flying south in great numbers this fall through several U.S. flyways.

The farmers who got hit this spring, which lead to the destruction of more than 48 million birds, know how life-changing a flu outbreak can be.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

A deadly strain of avian influenza is spreading across poultry farms in the Midwest. While no cases have been reported in Colorado, egg and chicken producers in the state are taking steps to keep it that way.

Millions of birds have already succumbed to the virus nationwide, and new pockets are popping up almost daily. The virus isn’t harmful to people, but can be easily transmitted from humans to poultry.

Poultry Industry Warily Watches Bird Flu Outbreak

Jan 27, 2015
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Since a highly contagious strain of bird flu was found in the U.S. in December, many countries have closed their doors to chickens and turkeys raised here.

The virus isn’t harmful to humans. So far, mostly wild birds and backyard flocks have been infected, though bird flu was recently detected in a Foster Farms turkey flock in California. Commercial poultry farmers are worried because they have the most to lose.

Almost 1,300 Coloradans Hospitalized For Flu

Jan 1, 2015
Grace Hood / KUNC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared this week that flu and pneumonia deaths have reached “epidemic” levels for the year – and Colorado is no different.

Almost 1,300 people in Colorado have been hospitalized for the flu so far this season. Two children have died. These numbers are not the worst in the nation, but they continue to climb. In order to reach an epidemic threshold, flu and pneumonia deaths must account for 6.8 percent of the total nationwide fatalities according to the CDC.

We may be in for a nasty flu season. That's the warning out today from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is worried because the most common strain of flu virus circulating in the United States is one called H3N2. In previous years, H3N2 strains have tended to send more people to the hospital than other strains — and cause more deaths, especially among the elderly, children and people with other health problems.

Grace Hood / KUNC

As Northern Colorado residents infected with the flu begin to stream into area emergency rooms and hospitals, one fact is emerging. 89 percent of patients treated for flu symptoms did not get a shot.