424 flu cases reported

Flu cases in Franklin County have now skyrocketed to 424 and that number is increasing every day with 200 cases reported in the past two weeks alone.

With major outbreaks being reported throughout the St. Louis metro area, the numbers here are already more than double that of last year with just 174 cases reported.

Franklin County Public Health Supervisor Tony Buel said with several months of flu season still ahead, the numbers will get higher.

As the outbreak began to grip the county in late January, the illness had not spread to school-age children, but that certainly isn’t the case now.

According to the most recent numbers on Tuesday, there are now 120 reported cases of the flu in children ages 5 to 14 in Franklin County, which is 28 percent of the total cases reported.

In January, the highest cases were reported in the 25 to 49 age range with 62. In the past two weeks, 35 additional cases were reported in that age range, which is about 23 percent of the total.

People over 65 represent 18 percent of reported flu cases with 76, and the 15 to 24 age group represent 12 percent of the cases reported thus far.

Ages zero to 4 make up just under 10 percent with 39 combined cases and people ages 50 to 64 are in the same 10 percent range with 42 cases reported.

The county health department gets its data from several sources, including the hospitals in Washington and Sullivan, doctors’ offices, Walgreens, CVS and other clinics, as well as school nurses.

Buel said the flu season typically runs from September until mid-April.

Although the 2016-17 flu season has already surpassed last year and is shaping up to have a high number of cases, Buel said this year’s numbers are actually closer to the average. The number of cases the last three years are as follows:

• 174 cases were reported in the 2015-16 flu season.

• 1,260 cases were reported in the 2014-15 flu season.

• 708 cases were reported in the 2012-13 flu season.