Local Flu Cases Declining - The Missourian: Local News

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Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 7:00 pm | Updated: 9:17 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

Reported flu cases in Franklin County are declining, according to the health department.

In December, there was an average of about 100 reported cases a week. So far in January, about 45 cases a week have been reported, said Tony Buel, epidemiology specialist with the Franklin County Health Department.

As of Wednesday, the health department had reported a total of 483 flu cases for the season.

At the same time last year there were still less than 20 flu cases in Franklin County.

Last year the flu did not start being heavily reported until February, and there ended up being more than 700 cases.

Most of the flu cases so far this year are in the 5-14 age group with 225 cases, Buel said. Other cases are divided between age groups as follows: 0-less than 2 years old, 22; 2-4, 48; 15-24, 45; 25-49, 70; 50-64, 48; and 65 plus, 25.

Buel said cases of influenza A are starting to increase while B cases are going down.

In December, 94 percent of the cases were influenza B while the other 6 percent were A.

So far in January, 21 percent are influenza A, and 79 percent are B.

The symptoms of influenza A and B are similar, he said.

Buel added that it is hard to say whether the flu season has peaked this year in Franklin County.

Nationally, the flu usually peaks in February, but the season began earlier than normal this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health department still recommends people get a flu shot and wash their hands frequently.

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