By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky’s latest flu report showed a smaller jump in cases than in previous weeks, but the jump in deaths was the biggest yet this season, showing the disease’s worst possible outcome.
The state Department for Public Health said Friday that 29 Kentuckians (27 adults and two people under 18) have died from the flu this season, with 15 of those deaths (14 adults and one child) reported since the last weekly report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated every flu season. It takes up to weeks for protection to develop after getting the vaccine, so the sooner the better. Click here to see where to get a flu vaccine near you.
“I think the most important message is that the best tool we have is vaccination,” said Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels, an infectious-disease specialist at UK HealthCare. “It will prevent you from getting very sick or ending up in the hospital. It will help protect your community. That’s the biggest thing I can stress this season. . . . It’s not too late. If you haven’t gotten it, go get it.” Flu season runs until May.
Four of the state’s 16 health regions showed increases in flu activity on the latest report. Counties with some of the highest confirmed numbers in the week ending Dec. 3 were Allen, 62; Barren, 266; Bell, 50; Boone, 228; Boyd, 82; Campbell, 127; Daviess, 284; Fayette, 525; Floyd, 116; Grant, 81; Harlan, 89; Hart, 70; Henderson, 63; Hopkins, 112; Jefferson, 1,704; Jessamine, 69; Kenton, 335; Knox, 113; Laurel, 136; Madison, 98; McCracken, 84; Metcalfe, 58; Monroe, 56; Muhlenberg, 273; Nelson, 115; Pike, 296; Shelby, 66; Warren, 162; and Whitley, 161.