Kentuckians should have a better idea about where flu outbreaks occur this winter. Officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health will publish an online weekly influenza surveillance report, to be updated each Friday before noon.
The most recent report shows 18 confirmed cases of the flu in eight counties — found mostly in northern Kentucky. There have been four confirmed cases of the flu in Jefferson County.
Most flu occurrences have been found in people ages 81 to 90 and 1 to 10, according to the report. There have been five cases of the swine flu. The report shows no deaths in Kentucky due to the flu this year.
The data does not include all flu cases in the state, but a portion from doctors’ offices, hospitals and health departments that voluntarily report flu cases to the state.
State officials say they expect there will be enough flu vaccines for various strains this season, according to a news release.
Experts recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against the flu but it is especially important for certain people to be vaccinated due to high risk of having serious flu-related complications. This includes:
- Children younger than 5 years, but especially children younger than 2 years
- Pregnant women
- People 65 and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Keep in mind that flu season usually reaches the most people in January. And it can take almost two weeks for the vaccine to kick in.
On average, the CDC says flu kills about 24,000 Americans each year. That included 105 children during the last flu season.