Flu deaths in Washington now up to 11

OLYMPIA — With its latest update Friday, the Washington Health Department says there have been 11 flu deaths in the state this season.

Spokesman Marqise Allen says the number is not unusual, but the department urges everyone older than 6 months to get a vaccination. The swine flu has been the most common strain, and the current vaccine available covers the H1N1 virus.

Five of the deaths have been in King County, which can be expected as the population center of the state.

Allen says the state Health Department tracks only laboratory confirmed deaths so “official” numbers are just an indication of the overall flu situation.

There were 54 official flu deaths in the state last season, 18 the season before.

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