For Immediate Release
SAINT LOUIS COUNTY, MO - (February 10, 2009) The Saint Louis County Department of Health, which regularly tracks cases of seasonal influenza, has noted a marked increase in flu cases over the last two weeks.
For the week ending February 8th, 2009, the County Health Department received reports of 85 laboratory-confirmed flu cases, as compared to 66 cases for the previous week, and just 15 cases the week before that.
"The recent increase in reported flu cases is a reminder that it is important to get a flu shot and take other preventative measures," said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the Health Department.
The following three age groups have been the most affected so far this flu season: 5 to 14-year-olds; 15 to 24-year-olds; and 25 to 49-year olds. Last year, the most affected age group was the 25 to 49-year-olds. There have been a total of 224 cases of flu so far this season.
Dr. Gunn cautions, "It is important to get a flu shot this year for three reasons: 1) your health; 2) the health of others who may be exposed if you are infected; and, 3) for the first time, the strain of flu circulating this year is likely to be resistant to the most commonly used medication to treat it. Virtually all of the influenza A subtype H1N1 circulating in the United States this year is resistant to Oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu®), thus limiting the options for effective treatment. We may think of the influenza season as a routine annual event, but we should recognize both the impact it has on our health as well as the burden it places on emergency medical services."
In addition to getting a flu shot, there are other steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting the flu:
To view the Weekly Flu Report, visit www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com and select the appropriate link.
To find out where to go for vaccinations (or to find more information about the flu), call the Flu Vaccination Hotline or visit the Saint Louis County Flu website: