Lab-confirmed flu deaths at 34, state says

OLYMPIA — The Washington state Health Department says the state has had 34 lab-confirmed flu deaths so far this flu season.

Agency spokesman Donn Moyer said that figure covers confirmed deaths through Wednesday. The total is up from 28 last week.

The Snohomish Health District north of Seattle says the Jan. 24 death of an Everett man in his 90s has been confirmed as a flu death.

Elsewhere, Thurston County’s health officer Dr. Diana Yu said a 23-year-old woman who died at the end of January tested positive for Influenza B. Yu says that flu strain rarely causes death. The Olympian reported Thursday that the woman likely died of flu complications such as secondary pneumonia. Yu said the county coroner will determine the official cause of death.

The state Health Department said there were 18 flu deaths in 2011-2012 and 36 the previous year. The most state flu deaths in recent years were 98 in the swine flu season of 2009-2010.

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