KeepHealthCare.ORG – Flu season continues to hit Texas hard | Health
The flu continues to make the rounds in the Fort Hood area as area hospitals and school districts report the sickness is still popping up in recent weeks.
For the first three weeks of January, a Texas Department of State Health Services report listed a total of 11,674 flu cases being reported by just over 100 different healthcare providers statewide.
“Coryell Memorial Hospital, ER, Coryell Medical Clinic and Mills County Medical Clinic testing in the month of December resulted in 395 total positive flu tests and January has already shown 450 positive results,” Carly Latham, director of marketing for Coryell Memorial Healthcare System in Gatesville, said in a news release.
Positive hospital labs for influenza are currently up 9.6 percent from previous week, according to the news release.
“Coryell Memorial Healthcare System is experiencing similar test results, which is a very high percentage of patients testing positive for influenza,” said laboratory director Ron Pundt.
Area schools are also still seeing flu cases as January nears its end. Killeen Independent School District had 197 reported flu cases from Jan. 22-26.
“That’s only about three-tenths of one percent (.003 percent) of our 44,000 students,” KISD chief communications officer Terry Abbott said.
Copperas Cove Independent School District did not report any flu cases last week, but it had 119 confirmed cases of the flu since the start of 2018.
In Clifton, about 65 miles north of Killeen, public school officials canceled classes earlier this week due to a large number of students out sick with the flu. Local school officials said there are no plans to cancel classes.
Metroplex Hospital in Killeen has seen 494 confirmed cases of the flu with 54 patients getting admitted since Jan. 6, said hospital spokeswoman Erin Spencer.
Metroplex saw 444 confirmed flu cases from late October to Jan. 2. There were 119 flu cases between Dec. 27 and Jan. 5.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness, spread by a virus. It can cause a miserable but relatively mild illness in many people, but more a more severe illness in others.
Young children and the elderly are at greatest risk from flu and its complications. In a bad season, there are as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu.
In the U.S., annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older.
Health officials say this year’s shot targets the strains that are making Americans sick, including one causing most of the illness, a Type A H3N2 flu virus. But exactly how well it is working won’t be known until next month.
The same virus was the dominant flu bug last winter, when the flu season wasn’t so bad. It’s not clear why this season — led by the same bug — is so much more intense, some experts said.