Flu outbreak sickens hundreds, kills two toddlers in Colorado

DENVER - More than 500 people in Colorado have been hospitalized for the flu this winter and two toddlers have died, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Last week, 136 people were hospitalized for the flu. That brings the total this season to 506 people.

Due to reporting delays over the holidays, Colorado health officials said they expect those numbers to increase this week.

The two children who died from the flu were both under three years old, according to state epidemiologist Lisa Miller.

Miller said one of the children had underlying health conditions, the other did not.

The flu outbreak in Colorado is now listed as "widespread," according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The primary virus in Colorado is influenza A.

Miller said Colorado averages 350 to 2,000 flu cases each year. However, the 2,000 came during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009-2010.

Last year, 543 people were hospitalized for flu. In 2010-2011, 1,027 people were hospitalized.

"It's not too late to get a flu shot," Miller said. "You may have to work to find vaccine, but it is still available at some King Soopers and other clinics."

Learn more about the flu symptoms, how to protect yourself and more on the government's flu website.