While West Virginia, like 31 other states across the nation, is reporting widespread occurrences of flu-like illnesses, this data alone does not indicate this year’s flu season will last longer or be worse than years past, said State Influenza Coordinator Shannon McBee.
What is unusual about this flu season is that it is coming earlier than it has in the past, meaning that more people reported flu-like symptoms in November and December than in the previous three years.
Reports show currently there are more than 10,000 people with influenza-like illness across the state as compared to 6,600 in Dec. 2011.
During the 2011–12 influenza season, influenza activity occurred at low levels during October through December, increased in January and peaked with 21,540 cases reported to the state in late February.
According to McBee, 2011 is considered a normal year for severity.
The available data cannot indicate severity of this year’s flu infection, she stressed.
“We could have already reached the threshold and will see numbers decline or we may see numbers continue to rise, but it is hard to tell,” she said.
McBee explained that there have been several mild influenza seasons since the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic.
State charts show that the 2009 Pandemic also began early in the season; however, numbers of flu-like illnesses reported by local health departments had reached 13,000 by the end of September in 2009.
As of December, the state reports 1,131 cases of influenza-like illnesses in Summers County. While these cases are not confirmed as flu, the numbers seem high for a county with a population under 14,000.
Candy Hurd, director of nursing for the Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department, said her team has administered thousands of flu shots this year for Raleigh County citizens.
She said that most of confirmed influenza viruses are AH3, which are well-matched to the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine, offering good protection for the types of viruses present.
Historically “H3N2 seasons” are more severe, with higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.
Hurd encouraged everyone to stay home if they are feeling ill, cover their cough, and practice good hand hygiene to help curb the spread of flu-like symptoms.
The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health recommends those who are sick should avoid school or work for 24 hours after their fever is gone to prevent spreading the illness.
More information on how this year’s flu season will be forthcoming as the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology is currently working with local health departments to investigate pockets of flu activity across the state.
— E-mail: email@example.com
- Local News
110 Marshall to host blues group
“Playing the blues ... and only the blues” is the motto of Charles-ton-based blues group Chaz Humley and the Effects, who will be playing at Beckley’s eclectic 110 Marshall (Ave.) music and arts venue at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Students to perform in concert as Honor Band
Band students throughout southern West Virginia are coming together Saturday in Beckley to perform as the Southern West Virginia Honor Band.
- Calendar — Friday, March 7, 2014
Three arrested for robbery
Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two men and a woman for allegedly beating a drug dealer with an ax handle and stealing his money on Feb. 22.
Bills debated on second reading
A few bills on second reading in the State Senate got some debate Thursday in the final days of this legislative session.
Industrial hemp, breast-feeding bills make it out of committees
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Thursday to allow industrial hemp to be grown at state colleges and universities, but stopped short of allowing the plant to be grown for sale by private industry.
Boy Scout wild game dinner to offer snake, bear and other fare
For every person who has ever wondered what rattlesnake tastes like but never had the chance to find out, area Scouts will serve up a selection of exotic treats.
Beckley to recognize Teel Road fire rescuers
Two Beckley men who pulled a sister and brother from a burning home Monday evening will be honored by the Beckley Fire Department and the City of Beckley, Beckley Fire Chief Billie Trump announced Thursday.
Beckley’s comprehensive plan ready for review
The City of Beckley’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan is now available for review by the public and an adoption schedule is planned.
Mom accused of forging doctor’s excuses
A Fayette County mother faces prison time after allegedly forging doctor’s excuses to avoid a misdemeanor truancy charge.
- More Local News Headlines
- 110 Marshall to host blues group