The worst flu season in a decade nationwide is gripping the region – especially Northern Kentucky – with reported flu cases climbing daily and the medical community anticipating things will get worse.
“Our epidemiologist tells me we haven’t gone two hours without a report of a flu case,” Louise Kent, spokeswoman for the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District, said Monday afternoon.
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As fever and chills, sneezing and coughing, body aches and headaches afflict flu victims around you, physicians’ and public health officials repeat this advice: Wash your hands. A lot. And get a flu shot.
Is flu hitting our region hard?
Yes. Numbers of flu cases are rising daily. Northern Kentucky seems to be taking the biggest hit so far, with the NKY Independent Health District tallying 700 reported flu cases as of Monday – up from 550 reported cases Friday. There were 284 cases total last flu season, 2011-12, which was considered a mild season.
When was it this bad before?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that this flu season appears to be the worst since 2003, and the Tristate is no exception.
Has anyone died from the flu?
A Campbell County man died Friday of complications from the flu.
The Northern Kentucky health department reported the man’s death, noting he had underlying medical conditions. It was the first flu-related death of the season in Northern Kentucky.
In Indiana, seven people have died so far this flu season, including two last week. Two of the seven deaths were people under 18 years old. The state is reporting widespread flu activity, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.
Have the five St. Elizabeth hospitals in Northern Kentucky seen an increase this season?
Yes, a huge increase. So far this season (Oct. 1 through Monday), St. E reported 306 cases of influenza to the health department. For that time period last year, the hospital group had reported eight, said Patricia Burns, a registered nurse and , the infection control coordinator for St. E.
How has Ohio been hit this season?
In Ohio, flu cases are not required to be reported to the health department.
Flu-related hospitalizations are the best benchmarks for the severity and circulation of flu viruses in Ohio.
Such hospitalizations have almost tripled this season, and there are outbreaks in at least half the state’s regions, according to the Ohio Department of Health. It reported 1,230 hospitalizations between October and December this season compared to only 71 last season.
Are Southwest Ohio counties also feeling the flu outbreak?
Health departments in Hamilton and Clermont counties say they’re seeing more cases than last season.
From October through Monday, 86 Hamilton County residents had been hospitalized for the flu. Of those cases, 39 occurred in December and 44 have occurred this month. Last year there were no hospitalizations during that time period.
Clermont County General Health District reported six hospitalizations in December. That’s more than this time last year, said Deputy Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit, but she didn’t have December 2011’s numbers readily available.
Butler County Health Department also is seeing more flu cases this season. Jenny Bailer, director of nursing, said, “It certainly looks like it’s on the increase.”
Cincinnati hasn’t seen a large increase yet, said spokesman Rocky Merz.
What is University of Cincinnati Medical Center reporting?
Dr. Madhuri Sopirala, director of Infections Control at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said the hospital began to see an increase in flu cases in December, and by mid-December had tallied 25. In January alone – one week – the hospital had 18 flu cases, she said, noting about half of the patients were admitted.
Is the flu hitting children hard this season?
It appears that there are no major flu outbreaks among children here.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is seeing its numbers rise; however, influenza cases are not out of the ordinary for a flu season, said Jim Feurer, spokesman for the hospital.
“Flu numbers have gradually gone up each week,” Feurer said. “Flu is here. There’s nothing unusual about the trends we’re seeing.”http://news.cincinnati.com/article/2013 ... -about-flu