The number of flu cases in Franklin County continues to increase.

As of last Friday, there were 220 flu cases reported in Franklin County, a drastic increase over the same time period last year when less than 20 cases were reported during the same time period.

Of the cases reported this year, 70 percent are children 14 and younger, said Tony Buel, epidemiology specialist with the Franklin County Department of Health.

Buel noted that flu season has a while to go, so it is still worth it for people to get a flu shot. The shots are $25 at the health department.

Most of the cases of flu this year have been reported from people who have not gotten flu shots, unlike last year when a large portion of the cases were from people who had gotten the shot, Buel said.

Flu cases in Franklin County started being reported Sept. 2.

Cases really started going up the second week of December. But Buel said the state has still not labeled it an epidemic, since the cases have not gone to unusually high levels.

Last year, high numbers of flu did not start showing up until February, and there ended up being more than 700 cases.

He did not know why cases may be showing up earlier this year.

Franklin County’s flu rate this year is in line with what is being seen in other counties across the state, he said.

Buel said he expects to continue to see the number of cases rise.

Flu season typically peaks in January or February but can go until May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.