Kentucky now reporting 'widespread' flu activity; numbers worse than last season

First case of flu confirmed in the city

First case of flu confirmed in the city

The 2017-18 flu season saw 228 flu deaths in Arkansas, including 172 people over the age 65 and five children under the age of 18.

Dr. Rodriguez says flu season is expected to last from now until the end of March.

Flu activity is on the rise this season in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of states reporting higher levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) jumped from two to nine.

"We are starting to see an upward trend in cases being reported", said Jenny Galbraith, immunization surveillance coordinator at the North Dakota Department of Public Health.

Kentucky now is reporting 1,457 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu, which is comparable to this time last season's number of cases (1,411). "You can't plan for something like previous year", said Clarence Sullivan, a pharmacist with The Pharmacy Shop in Lexington, Kentucky. "Past year it was 17 weeks which was really very long".

According to the Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update from the CDC, Nebraska is now listed with "widespread" flu activity for the week ending December 22, 2018- Week 51.

Officials said that as the "season" continues to ramp up, it is important to take preventive steps to keep yourself healthy.

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"Older people may have been infected with cousins of H1N1 years ago, and that gives them residual protection", Schaffner said.

So far, provinces have reported 1,046 hospitalizations related to influenza and 24 deaths.

"At this point, most flu activity has been driven by illness in school-aged children, and hospitalization rates among children younger than 5 years old (7.7 per 100,000) are now the highest among all age groups".

The girl, who did not get the flu jab either, was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital on December 26. "Flu shots are available at the health department and local pharmacies".

They say now is a good time to get the vaccine, before a wave of sickness hits the area.

While it's too early to tell just how effective this year's flu shot is, the vaccine protects against this year's most prevalent strain. If you do get sick, please stay home until you're much better.

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