SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Flu season came early this year. It's a stubborn outbreak that has proven hard to treat and even harder to contain. This year the flu has already spread to 41 states.
A new report from the Utah Department of Health released Wednesday shows 56 people have been hospitalized in the last week bringing the total this season to 233.
Tom Hudachko, Public Information Officer with the Utah Department of Health told ABC 4 News, "It’s higher than we've seen in the past several years with the one exception with the year the H1N1 flu strain was circulating."
That’s why it's being called one of the fiercest outbreaks in a decade, starting weeks, even months, earlier than its usual January flare up.
At the University of Utah's Greenwood Health Clinic the littlest patients have been hit the hardest. Pediatrician Dr. Jeffrey Clint said, “The flue has hit fast and hard. We in pediatrics have been seeing it for several weeks both influenza A and influenza B."
Dr. Clint is seeing babies with coughs, aches and 102 to 105 degree temperatures. Nationwide, at least 18 children have died this season including a six year old in Dallas.
The girl’s father, Earl Johnson, said, “I put her to bed. I kissed her and told her I loved her.”
Her grandmother added, “I went in there to check on her and she was gone.”
Doctors are telling everyone it's not too late to get a flu shot, to not only protect you but others, because things are likely going to get worse. There are still five more weeks to go before the end of this flu season.