Flu cases are declining in Kentucky, but season runs until May, and CDC says there’s still time and reasons to get vaccinated

State Dept. for Public Health map, adapted by Ky. Health News; to enlarge, click on it.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Influenza cases in Kentucky have slowly declined for five straight weeks, similar to what is going on in the rest of the nation.

The latest weekly report from the state Department for Public Health shows that in the week ended Jan. 22, Kentucky counted 147 new flu cases. The state has recorded 2,392 cases this season and has reported no flu-related deaths.

Most lab-confirmed cases continue to be in people between 1 and 30, with the highest rate among those 11 to 20.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s weekly surveillance report notes that while influenza activity is hard to predict, it is expected to continue for several more weeks. Flu season lasts until May.

“There’s still time to get vaccinated,” the CDC says. “An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications. CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine.”

It’s also important to remember that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection against the flu virus, which is why it’s important to get vaccinated before the virus starts to spread in your community.

The state report shows that most Kentucky counties had little to no change in flu activity from the previous week, with Jefferson County, the state’s most populous county, continuing to have the most new cases each week. It reported 57 in the week ended Jan. 22. Other counties with relatively high case numbers were Harrison, 10; Pike, nine; Warren, six; and Barren and Clark, five each.

The state’s flu level is “regional,” which applies when increases in flu cases have been confirmed in at least two, but fewer than half, of the state’s 16 regions. Flu season usually peaks between December and March.

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