Texas flu season death toll surpasses 4,150

The CDC called this flu season “moderately severe”. The predominant flu strain this season has been H3N2, but now they’re seeing more B virus strains.

In the Houston area, this flu season has been much severe than the past two.

Houston Health Department Porfirio Villarreal said they monitor 40 different hospitals around the area.

“21-hundred people showing up every week because of flu-like symptoms, so it’s still elevated,” said Villarreal. “Last year, the peak that we saw was eight percent of the people showing up to emergency rooms for a few weeks were due to flu like symptoms. Our peak, so far, this year has been 13%.”

The last comparable time was four years ago.

Texas Department of State Health Services’ Lara Anton said the actual number is deaths are higher than the 4,153 flu-related deaths statewide that was reported last week.

“We’ve gone up twice and come back down a little bit in the past few weeks, so we’re hopeful that this means the season has peaked and we’re on our way down, but we just don’t know, yet,” said Anton. “Last year, there were 9, 553 flu-related deaths and eight pediatric flu-related deaths.”

Seven children have died in Texas this flu season.

DSHS said only pediatric flu-related deaths are required to be reported to the health department immediately after the death.

DSHS tracks adult flu-related deaths using death certificate data, which then goes to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics to be coded and then the data comes back to DSHS where they pull out the data for deaths listing flu or pneumonia as an underlying or contributing cause of death to use for flu reporting.

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