Number of flu cases spiking in King County, officials say

SEATTLE -- More people are starting to come down with the flu across Washington state, and King County reported Tuesday that it sees cases spiking.

"Over the past two weeks we’ve seen flu activity take off with marked increases in positive laboratory tests for flu and people seeking medical care. The number of people seen at hospital emergency departments with flu-like illnesses to-date is more than we’ve seen at this time of year for the previous five years," Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health -- Seattle & King County told the department's Public Health Insider.

"We haven’t peaked yet and I can’t predict when that will happen or how high it will be compared to other years," Duchin added.

The state Department of Health said there have been nine lab-confirmed influenza deaths reported for the 2016-17 season so far.

During the week of Dec. 18 to Dec. 24, the proportion of outpatient visits from influenza-like illness was 2.2 percent in Washington state, above the baseline of 1.1 percent, the Department of Health said.

Duchin said those people at higher risk for serious illness, complications and hospitalization from the flu include: