Flu season now in full effect

Faith Castro
January 5, 2019

The season will run from August 1, 2018, through July 31, 2019. That's compared to 90 reported cases this time past year. These voluntary sites collect data and report influenza-like illness cases according to age groups each week. That compares to just 19 cases reported for the week ending December 8.

Mercy Infection Preventionist Gail Gates said people who do die from the influenza are usually older and have a chronic medical condition.

At this time, health officials reported 1,457 confirmed cases of the flu.

"This [winter] we have been fortunate, it's just about starting". That number is already more than double the 207 confirmed cases during the same period past year. The dominant strain now circulating, called H1N1, is less likely to affect the elderly-a particularly vulnerable group-and it tends to be more sensitive to vaccination.

On Friday, Iowa recorded its first flu-related death of the season.

The number of reported cases in the state only includes people who have tested positive for influenza in a health care setting - meaning there may be several other cases that haven't been documented.

While nearly half of the US population gets a flu vaccination annually, the CDC says the impact of influenza remains high. This number only reflects the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely much higher.

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It is not too late to get the flu shot, for those who have not done so yet.

No new hospitalizations have been reported in LeFlore County since the previous week. During the entire flu season there were 333 flu-related deaths in Kentucky past year, five of which were pediatric.

In total, 19 states are experiencing high flu activity. Frank Welch, medical director for immunization programs at Louisiana Health Department. "Every season is different". The average duration of a flu season for the last five seasons has been 16 weeks, with a range of 11 weeks to 20 weeks. "It peaked early and hit really hard". It is not too late to protect yourself and others this flu season. And activity is "starting to increase" in this season, Schultz said.

Find out more about the flu in Iowa, here.

Most hospitalizations have been in eastern Oklahoma, including 26 in the southeastern region.

Gates said the best ways to prevent getting the illness is by getting a flu shot and practicing good hygiene.

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