COLUMBUS PUBLIC HEALTH – Press Release
FOR TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2012
Central Ohio Seeing Higher Influenza-Positive Tests and Hospitalizations
Local Indicators Show Early Start to Flu Season so don’t Wait to get a Flu Shot
It’s back …
The flu is here. And central Ohio already is seeing an increase in all local flu indicators, mirroring those released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – which could indicate an early start to flu season.
Locally, influenza-positive laboratory tests are significantly higher for this time of year. Hospitalizations are on the rise too. For the week ending November 24, there were 45 cases of hospitalizations, compared to four cases in 2011 and six cases in 2010 during that same time frame.
The flu is on the rise outside of central Ohio as well. Last week, Ohio upgraded from sporadic to regional geographic spread, indicating more disease in our state. The CDC also says that influenza levels are currently increasing across the country.
While the flu season is always unpredictable, flu activity in the U.S. doesn’t usually peak until February and can last as late as May. Columbus Public Health tracks flu trends by monitoring local lab positive tests, hospitalizations, the number of emergency department/emergency room visits, over the counter cold sales, pediatric urgent care visits and school absenteeism.
“The good news is it’s not too late to get a flu shot,” says Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long. “This year’s flu vaccine appears to be a good match to circulating flu viruses and it is easy to get from doctors, retailers and public health departments.”
Dr. Long adds the best way to protect yourself from the flu is by getting a flu shot, staying home if you are sick, covering your cough and washing your hands.
For more information, visit flu.gov or Columbus Public Health at publichealth.columbus.gov or Facebook or Twitter.