Flu cases in Ky. show a slight uptick, with three more deaths reported; best defense is a flu shot; season runs through May

Kentucky Health News

New cases of influenza saw a slight uptick in Kentucky during the week ended Jan. 25, and three more Kentuckians were reported dying from it, one under the age of 18. So far, 33 Kentuckians have died from the flu this season, according to the state Department for Public Health.

The latest weekly report shows in the week ending Jan. 25, Kentucky counted 1,739 new cases for a total of 13,287 this season. The actual number is higher because not all flu cases are counted; flu does not have to be reported, and eight counties did not contribute to the latest report.

Health officials recommend that everyone over 6 months of age get an annual flu vaccination. It is not too late, since the season usually runs through May.

It’s also important to practice good hygiene, covering your cough and making sure you are washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible, and if not, to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. And because flu germs linger on surfaces, it’s also important to wash your hands after coughing, touching a door knob or handrail, or shaking hands.

School districts across the state continue to close due to the flu. Lexington’s WKYT-TV reported Jan. 31 that more than 20 school districts canceled classes Friday and Monday due to illness.

Hotspots continue around the state. Perry and Pike counties continue to see some of the highest flu numbers in the state. In the week ending Jan. 25, Pike saw 126 new cases and Perry 93, for respective totals of 649 and 808. Barren County was also hit hard, with 120 new cases, for a total of 595. Warren added 86 new cases, for a total of 502; Allen added 41, for a total of 220; Knott added 37, for a total of 211; and Letcher 33, for a total of 186.

MMWR stands for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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