KDHE: Flu Cases Spiking Earlier, Deaths Reported

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Several hundred Kansans have already died this flu season, due to complications from influenza and pneumonia.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, there have been 460 influenza and pneumonia deaths in the state so far this season.

“The typical peak for cases of influenza-like illness in Kansas occurs in February, and the rates we are observing now are higher and earlier than what we usually see,” said State Health Officer Dr. Robert Moser.

The KDHE tracks influenza each season several ways, one of which is monitoring the percentage of patients seeking healthcare in selected outpatient clinics.

Last week for example, the KDHE said the rate of the illness among patients seeking care was 6.4 percent. To contrast, during the 2011-12 season, that number peaked to only 3.4 percent in March. There were more than 1,300 deaths during the last season.

Dr. Moser says it's not too late to get vaccinated for the flu, which is recommended for nearly everyone six months of age and older. The KDHE says it's also important for anyone at high risk of complications and for anyone who is caring for, or in regular contact with an infant less than six months old.

“I would ask that business owners and managers encourage their employees to stay at home when ill to avoid the spread of influenza in the community." Moser said. "It’s also important for everyone to wash their hands throughout the day with warm, soapy water and to sanitize telephones, keyboards and other office equipment used often."

Symptoms include fever, dry cough, extreme tiredness and muscle aches. Complications can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections and dehydration. It can also worsen other chronic conditions.

“Let’s not forget that influenza is unpredictable and can continue to circulate through spring,” said Moser.

More information about the flu can be found by clicking the link below:

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