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Flu season off to slow start in Johnson County

Daily Star-Journal - 12/22/2017

Dec. 22--WARRENSBURG -- The Centers for Disease Control report that influenza is widespread across Missouri, but reports of flu cases in Johnson County are running behind cases reported about the same time last year, Ronda Davis, public health coordinator with Johnson County Community Health Services, said.

Davis said the latest count showed 98 cases of influenza A and 28 cases of influenza B reported to the health center by Western Missouri Medical Center, Whiteman Air Force Base and area pediatricians and physicians.

That number compares to 101 influenza A cases and 64 influenza B cases reported in 2016, she said, adding, "We're doing better on B."

Davis said those are cases confirmed by laboratory tests, but there could be more cases that have not been tested or confirmed.

She said the flu season peaked in February last year, adding, "I have no doubt we'll see (flu numbers) go up."

As of Dec. 16, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services had received 4,363 reports of influenza A statewide, and 1,300 reports of influenza B, with 52 unknown or untyped cases, for a total of 5,715.

The majority of cases are in the 5- to 24-year age group (2,119) and the 25- to 49-year age group (1,098), followed by children to age 4 (882); 65 years and older (875); and 50 to 74 years (741).

The Central district has the fewest cases reported at 843, while the eastern district has the most with 1,671 cases. The Northwest District has 1,066 reported cases; the Southeast District, 1,087, and the Southwest District, 1,048.

A total of 416 influenza-related deaths have occurred to date in Missouri.

The DHSS, in a news release, said the 2017-2018 flu season got off to an early start this year with 1,545 cases reported by Nov. 25 compared to 379 cases the same time last year.

In 2016-2017, more than 70,000 flu cases were confirmed in Missouri, and the DHSS said, if the trend continues, the state could see more than that this season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that flu results in 9.2 million to 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually in the United States.

DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said, "We know that historically, the intensity or prevalence of flu can vary from year to year. But this year, all indications are that we are seeing more flu earlier in the year, and we anticipate more cases."

He said it is not too late for people to get a flu shot.

Davis said JCCHS has flu vaccine available for the senior population and is still ordering it for children .


(c)2017 The Daily Star-Journal (Warrensburg, Mo.)

Visit The Daily Star-Journal (Warrensburg, Mo.) at www.dailystarjournal.com

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