Flu Activity Increasing in Iowa, First Flu-Related Death Reported

Spencer Underwood
January 5, 2019

Last week, New York City and 19 states (Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia) experienced high ILI activity, while 9 states (Arkansas, California, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) reported moderate ILI activity.

"We have 268 confirmed cases of flu in Jackson County right now, which past year, we were much higher", Landrum said.

No new flu deaths were reported in Oklahoma last week, but 11 so far this season. The report consists of laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza that are defined by molecular virus testing and positive virus culture test results. "In fact, the people who are at risk for most serious infections from these viruses, again, whether it's the flu or RSV, typically is going to be the very young or the very old or those who have immune compromising medical conditions".

Adequate supplies of flu vaccine are available for this year's season.

"It was specimens from our lab that helped pull this together to identify what is needed", said Monto. And this related to the history of people's exposure to flu.

According to the CDC website, vaccines are recommended to contain H1N1, H3N2 and Victoria lineage-all different types of influenza. "The flu is definitely here in MI as it is across the country".

Flu numbers are out and they're increasing. "Up from previous weeks where we have 5-6 in an entire week", said Tom Haupt, DHS.

Martin and Monto are frustrated that the vaccine is sometimes not as effective as everyone would like, but wish more people understood the benefits even a "poor match" can offer.

They say now is a good time to get the vaccine, before a wave of sickness hits the area. "The flu vaccine is one of our safest vaccines". He also urged those with symptoms of the virus to avoid visiting the elderly or vulnerable people while ill. "It's only early that you can do something about flu", said Monto.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, there are other ways to protect yourself from getting the flu.

"Be aware. Be ready".

"Anybody who hasn't been vaccinated should go and get vaccinated", she said.

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

This article is courtesy of WDIV.

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