The first case of someone being hospitalized for influenza has been reported in Mesa County as health officials are expecting an earlier flu season this fall. During the 2018-19 flu season, the first such case for Mesa County didn't occur until November.

"We are seeing flu circulating in the community," Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said in the press release. "A flu shot is your best protection against the severe complications that can come with the virus."

Influenza killed about 61,000 people in the United States during the 2018-19 season, Mesa County Public Health reports.

Last year was a down year for the flu virus in Mesa County as 117 people were hospitalized, compared to 232 people the previous year.

The first hospitalized influenza case for the 2019-20 season is an adult male over the age of 55.

"The early flu activity is noteworthy, but not necessarily an indication of how severe of a season we can expect this year," Kuhr added. "It's an important reminder that now is the time to get your flu shot."

It takes two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, so MCPH recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October.

Among adults in Mesa County, about 40% report getting their annual flu shot, Mesa County Public Health reported last year. The Healthy People 2020 goal is for 70% of adults to report receiving the yearly flu vaccine.

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