The 2022-2023 flu season in Washington State has proven to be the deadliest in half a decade, according to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The department reported a staggering 262 deaths due to the flu between October 1, 2022, and April 29, 2023. Among the victims, 257 were adults and five were children. This figure is nearly ten times higher than the previous season, which saw a reported 26 flu-related deaths, including 25 adults and one child.
Dr. Umair Shah, the Secretary of Health, attributed the comparatively low number of flu cases during the COVID-19 pandemic to illness precautions taken by the public. However, as people begin to interact more closely again, Dr. Shah emphasized that getting vaccinated is the best defense against serious flu-related illness.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this year's flu vaccine significantly reduced the risk of influenza A-related hospitalizations. The vaccine demonstrated a reduction of nearly three-quarters for children and nearly half for adults.
As of the end of April, flu activity in Washington state was minimal. The season experienced a rise in flu cases toward the end of October, reaching its peak by the end of November.