Officials with Erlanger reported a significant spike in flu-like illnesses the first week of December, compared to the same period last year.
Last week, the hospital reported a total of 74 cases to the Hamilton County Health Department, compared to only 15 cases during the same week last year.
Between 1.7 million and 2.5 million people have been stricken with the flu so far this season, according to the latest CDC data.
Ten weeks into the flu season, Erlanger has reported 396 influenza-like illnesses to the health department compared to 245 during the same period last year. This represents a 61% increase in flu activity over the same 10 week period last year.
Medical specialists continue to urge area residents to be vaccinated since the flu season is still in its beginning stages.
Last year’s flu season, which typically starts in late September, extended through May, with high numbers reported by Erlanger in both March and April.
Dr. Steven Cooper, medical director of Erlanger’s Community Health Centers, said that getting the vaccine is helpful because it can reduce the severity or duration of flu symptoms. Dr. Cooper also noted that vaccinations protect vulnerable populations who are at a higher risk for serious illness, like young people, pregnant women and the elderly.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual vaccine remains the best way to protect against the flu and its potentially serious complications. Go to https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/index.html for more information.