Colo. flu cases surging at start |

Colo. flu cases surging at start

Jennifer Brown
The Denver Post
Getty Images Europe/Jeff MitchellScientists work in a swine flu lab at Vitrology Biotech Company on April 30, 2009 in Clydebank, Scotland.

DENVER, Colorado –Two Coloradans have died because of the swine flu this month and more than 170 have been hospitalized, an early and “extraordinary” start to the flu season that has doctors unsure about what to expect come winter.

A child between age 10 and 17 died in Boulder this month and a person about 50 years old died in Denver on Monday morning, according to the state health department, which would not release the exact ages, gender or names of the patients.

Both had other health conditions that might have caused them to succumb to the flu, said Dr. Ken Gershman, chief of the communicable disease program at the state Department of Public Health and Environment.

The two recent deaths bring the total in Colorado to three. The first reported death from H1N1 flu was a 41-year-old El Paso County woman, who died in July.

The number of flu hospitalizations – 171 from Sept. 5 through 19 – is way beyond normal for this time of the year. The state health department typically does not even track flu cases until October and doesn’t see hospitalizations until November or December, Gershman said.

“This is extraordinary, and it’s clearly the result of H1N1,” he said. “This is entirely different than any other flu season.”

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