Flu cases are on the rise in Warren County.
Through Dec. 31, 106 cases had been reported to local health officials, according to LuAnn Bumgarner, a public health nurse with the Warren County Health Department.
At the same time the previous year, there was one reported case in the county, Bumgarner told The Record.
A total of 117 flu cases were reported in Warren County through May 31, 2012.
Here is a breakdown of the ages of individuals who had confirmed cases of the flu through Dec. 31:
Birth to age 2 — Three cases;
Ages 2 - 4 — 11 cases;
Ages 5 - 14 — 48 cases;
Ages 15 - 24 — 11 cases;
Ages 25 - 49 — 23 cases
Ages 50 - 64 — Seven cases; and
Age 64 and older — Three cases.
“The peak of influenza varies by year and, obviously, this year was earlier than last year,” Bumgarner remarked. “Approximately 40 percent of the time, the peak is in February.”
The flu vaccine which is being administered this year helps protect against three strains of the flu virus, Bumgarner said. This year, the vaccine includes two strains of Influenza A and one strain of Influenza B.
The flu viruses selected for inclusion in the seasonal flu vaccines are updated each year based on information about which viruses are being found, how they are spreading and how well the previous season’s vaccine might protect against any viruses being newly identified, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Vaccine viruses are chosen to maximize the likelihood that the influenza vaccine will protect against the viruses most likely to spread and cause illness among people during the upcoming flu season.
Since the early 1980s, the seasonal flu vaccine has been trivalent — a three-component vaccine — with each component selected to protect against one of the three main groups of influenza viruses circulating in humans.
Bumgarner added that the vaccine was considered a “good to excellent match” in terms of immunizing people this season.
The flu shot is not “100 percent effective” in terms of immunizing against the flu, Bumgarner pointed out. However, she added that people who receive flu shots who still come down with the illness “usually will have a less severe case.”
So far, a total of 851 flu vaccination shots have been given, Bumgarner noted, which includes vaccinations given at the Warren County Health Department, schools and senior centers in Wright City and Warrenton and other locations throughout the county such as Marthasville, Innsbrook and Lake-view Estates senior living community.
Additionally, the health department offers weekly adult flu clinics from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesdays. Immunizations are given to children by appointment.
Flu shots cost $25 each.