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Ky. flu cases increase slightly in last few weeks; not too late to get a flu shot, season runs through May

(Graph from Kentucky Department of Public Health; click for larger image)

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Following nine weeks of decline, influenza cases in Kentucky ticked back up.

The state Department for Public Health reports that in the week ended March 12, Kentucky had 170 new confirmed cases of influenza, up from 140 the previous week. The week before that, 174 cases were reported, after a month with fewer than 100 cases per week. The state has recorded 3,228 cases this season and one flu-related death.

(Department for Public Health map, adapted by Ky. Health News; click for larger image)

The health department raised Kentucky’s flu level to “widespread” from “regional” because increases in cases were seen in more than half of the state’s 16 health regions. Nine showed increases and two showed decreases.

The recent uptick follows a national trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the week ending March 12, “influenza activity is increasing in most of the country,” with most of the increases seen in central and south-central regions of the nation.

Flu season usually peaks between December and March, but can run through May. “An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu,” the CDC says. “Vaccination can prevent serious outcomes in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.”

The flu shot is recommend for everyone ages 6 months and older as long as flu activity continues.

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