Spring flowers, shorts and flip-flops are replacing ice, blankets and tissues, and mark the end of a milder 2018-19 flu season in Franklin County.
Although a few more reports may still trickle in, the total as of now sits at 1,733, which is 1,176 fewer cases than the 2,909 total for the 2017-18 flu season.
The hardest hit age group this season was children ages 5 to 14 with 574 cases, making up one-third of the overall county totals.
The second highest number of cases was in adults ages 25 to 49. That group reported 317 cases and made up 18 percent of the season total.
Older adults ages 50 to 64 recorded 13 percent of the county totals with 238 cases this season.
There were 190 cases in children ages 2 to 4, making up 11 percent, and 169 cases in seniors ages 65 and up, comprising just under 10 percent.
There were 143 flu cases reported in the 15 to 24 age range, making up 8 percent of the county’s totals.
The lowest number of flu cases of any age range was children ages zero to 2 with 102 case rounding out slightly under 6 percent for the season.
The Franklin County Health Department began recording flu cases in mid-September.
Throughout the ensuing 30 weeks, the overall average of 57 cases per week is deceiving considering there were some weeks early on when no cases were reported and others when the counts were in the single digits.
The big weekly numbers that skewed the averages began in February when the weekly reports began reaching the hundreds.
The last week of January, 63 flu cases were reported. The very next week they nearly doubled to 115.
After a slight drop to 94 cases the week of Feb. 10, the virus took hold in the county and cases skyrocketed to 297 right after Valentine’s Day.
That week of Feb. 17 was the high-water mark for the 2018-19 flu season.
Weekly numbers stayed near the 200 mark through St. Patrick’s Day with weekly reports of 231, 183, 176 and 233.
The week of March 24 was the last week of triple digits with 124 new cases and the following week, cases dropped considerably with only 47 new reports.
The first week of April, and the most recent numbers obtained by the health department, showed 17 new cases.
Influenza A was the dominant strain in Franklin County this season, comprising 1,629 cases, with Influenza B contributing an additional 104 cases.
In the last week of March throughout the state of Missouri there were 2,754 new flu cases reported, bringing the season total to 68,807.
This time last year, the weekly new statewide cases were down to 752, but the overall cases were 131,417, more than double this year’s totals at the end of March.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services ended its flu season reporting in mid-May 2018 with 133,957 flu cases for the season.
The county flu totals last year were the worst in recorded history with 2,909 people suffering from the virus.
According to numbers from the Franklin County Health Department, the first three cases of the 2017-18 flu season were reported the week of Sept. 17.
There was a lull in cases with only 35 cases reported between mid-September and Dec. 3. The next week, 21 cases were reported and then the virus took hold.
Just one week later, Dec. 17, the new cases jumped to 154, and then 253 through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The highest week of reported cases came as 2017 closed out the week of Dec. 31, with 401.
The first week of 2018, cases dropped slightly to 357, and continued a descent to 328 and then dropped drastically to 219 the week of Jan. 21.
Then cases jumped back up to 288 the following week, down to 218, and back up to 262 in mid-February.
After that, cases began to decline rapidly from 155 (Feb. 18) to 115 and then the cases bottomed out with only 77 combined cases through the end of March.