Flu is Widespread -- 12.31.2014
Release - December
Rodriguez, Columbus Public Health, 604-5025, [email protected]
Flu Widespread with
Increased Hospitalizations in Columbus
Nearly Five Times the Number for this Time Last Year
illnesses are growing and widespread in our area, causing increased
hospitalizations. In week ending December 20 alone, there were 91
hospitalizations – or nearly one third of the total number of hospitalizations
for flu (274) since Aug. 25. Additionally, the number of hospitalizations
is already five times the number for this time last year.
indicators this week also show increasing levels of flu activity, and public
health officials are urging people to get a flu shot if they haven’t received
we know the virus has drifted and the shot doesn’t provide full protection
against the most common H3N2 virus, the flu vaccine can provide cross
protection and help lessen the severity and duration of symptoms if you get
sick,” says Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long. “In
addition to a flu shot, you also can reduce your chances of getting the flu by
washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home if you are sick,” she
Dr. Long urges anyone with flu symptoms to consult with their primary
healthcare provider as soon as possible to get guidance and to see if treatment
with Tamiflu is appropriate. Antiviral medications work best when started
within two days of the onset of flu symptoms. With the season not even halfway,
it’s certainly not too late to get vaccinated.
Public Health monitors flu activity from October through May
each year to determine outbreaks, to track patterns of illnesses, and to
measure the impact of illness in our community. Specifically, Columbus Public
Health tracks: pneumonia and influenza deaths in Columbus; the number of
students absent from Columbus City Schools; influenza-like illnesses reported
from specific medical offices in Franklin County; influenza-like illness and
respiratory illness at hospital emergency departments and pediatric urgent
cares; selected laboratory data; over-the-counter medication sales; and,
hospitalizations for influenza.
Columbus Public Health’s weekly Influenza Surveillance
Report is available at: http://www.columbus.gov/publichealth/programs/Office-of-Epidemiology/Influenza-Surveillance/.
The report is updated every Friday afternoon.
According to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2014-15 flu season – which
likely will last into spring – may be severe. So far this flu season,
influenza A (H3N2) is the predominant virus, and hospitalizations and deaths
are typically higher when it is dominant.
For more information about the flu, visit http://www.flu.gov/.