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Greene County Flu Reports Jump to 90

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- Cases of the flu are rising in Greene County, but we are fairing much better than last year.
GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- Cases of the flu are rising in Greene County, but we are fairing much better than last year.

In the last week, the reported cases of the flu rose in Greene County from 82 to 90.

There were 33 cases of people between the ages of 25 and 49 years old

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still have Missouri categorized as having a high level of influenza activity.

But, the people at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department say we are seeing nothing like the numbers that we did last year.

"It's great news in terms of public health that what we're seeing so far is looking like a typical flu season,” says Kendra Findley, of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. “Last season we had a record number of cases in Greene County. We expect to see 750 to 800 cases reported each year and last year in Greene County alone we had over 1,400 cases. So it was out of the ordinary it was the highest number of cases we've had in the past 10 years."

Doctor Gary Wheeler with the Arkansas Department of Health said 10 people have died in Arkansas as a result of the flu.

Findley reminds people to stay home when you are ill and to wash your hands frequently.

Findley says most importantly is to remember it is not too late to get the flu vaccine and now. The sooner the better.

The flu is picking up across the U.S. as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about half the country is reporting widespread activity. Twenty states are now experiencing high influenza-like illnesses with hundreds of hospitalizations.

“We see influenza increase in the winter months, but it is increasingly relatively earlier then we usually see,” says Dr. Daniel Jernigan from the CDC. “Often the increase peaks in late January, early February.”

Most of the flu virus circulating is the H1N1 strain, which in 2009 caused the first flu pandemic in the US in more than 40 years. The strain tends to affect children and young and middle-age adults. So far, at least six children have died this season nationally.

“Those are individuals we know had more severity, more severe disease,” says Dr. Jernigan. “Especially pregnant women as well. So those are things we are concerned we are going to see again if it's another predominant H1N1 year.”

The highest rates of flu have been reported in Texas, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama.

Government health officials say H1N1 is covered in the vaccine, so it’s critical to get protected if you haven’t already.

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