The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Washington, Oregon and Idaho are among 25 states now facing widespread cases of the flu.
Many of the flu cases that have popped up in the Northwest are caused by the strain H1N1. It was formerly known as “swine flu” and caused a pandemic in 2009.
James Corbett, immunization coordinator at the public health district in Idaho Falls, says the good news is that this year, H1N1 is included in the flu vaccine, which he recommends everyone get.
“The H1N1 is a little bit different than other flu strains in that it can affect kind of the age group that's not normally affected – in those adolescents and early adulthood, the 20s and 30s.”
Otherwise, the influenza virus is behaving in its usual manner this year. Flu season tends to start in the South and move in a northwesterly direction.
The CDC is now reporting high rates of flu-like illness in Idaho, which means Oregon and Washington are likely next. Deaths have been reported in all three states.