Despite Tougher Flu Season, Local Health Districts Report Averag - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Despite Tougher Flu Season, Local Health Districts Report Average Number of Flu Deaths

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NBC RIGHT NOW -- The State of Washington has seen an unusually tough flu season this year. The Tri-Cities saw 5 deaths from the flu this last year, which is about average. Yakima on the other hand, had 7 people die from the flu, which is a little above average. 

This is all part of a state-wide and country-wide increase in flu deaths this year. Washington alone had 120 people die from flu cases, that was the highest number in the last 5 years. 

The Benton Franklin Health District says the problem was in this year's vaccine. 

"Once in a while, the virus drifts and changes a little bit from what we anticipated was coming," Heather Hill, Communicable Disease Program Supervisor said. "So it wasn't particularly a good match to the vaccine that was produced."

Hill says it's basically a guessing game for the scientists who produce the flu vaccine every year. And this year they guessed just a little bit wrong. A contributing factor is that the strain of flu that hit the country was a bit more dangerous than in recent years. 

Hill says we've seen the worst of the flu for this season but you can still catch it in the summer. The health district still recommends that everyone gets vaccinated to help stop the spread of the virus.