CDC report shows flu virus still widespread in the Heartland

Flu virus still widespread

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Flu season is far from over according to the Center for Disease Control.

The agency released a report that shows the flu virus is still prevalent across the country, including all the states in the Heartland.

According to the CDC’s weekly surveillance report from Feb. 3 to 9, almost every state in the country is experiencing widespread flu activity, with the exceptions of Hawaii, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Long-time nurse Vanessa Presley helps tally the total number of confirmed influenza cases for the Cape Girardeau County Health Department.

She says the report is a good reminder to keep your guard up because there is still a good chance you could get the flu.

"It's still widespread due to the fact that its peaking a little bit later than what it normally does and there are more people being tested," Presley said.

Current stats from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services shows there are 24,694 confirmed influenza cases in the 2018-2019 season to date.

MDHSS breaks that down further to 3,963 confirmed flu cases for the Southeast region, and both numbers will change when more confirmations happen.

Presley says about 850 people have came down with the flu in Cape County at this point in time. The good news is the number of reports each is starting to slow down.

"It’s still widespread because there is a lot of it out there, it's just not as much as what it was," Presley said.

That means you are still at risk for being exposed to flu bacteria anywhere you go.

“Whether its at church, at school, the shopping mall, at Walmart, at any store even your home when you bring people together you have different exposures,” Presley said.

The flu can keep itself going by mutating over time, so we can't just wait for the virus to go away.

Instead Presley is encouraging you to be part of the solution.

"It's important to be vaccinated. That gives you at least some protection,” Presley said. “Taking on the responsibility of good hand washing, staying home when your sick. Don't go around other sick people. Encourage people that are sick to go home. That will help cut down the spread of any type of sickness."

So far this year, Missouri has had 14 influenza-related deaths but none have been reported in Cape County.

If you have flu-like symptoms for several days, Presley suggests seeing a doctor which can prescribe you antiviral medication.

Flu shots are also still available and can reduce the effects of the virus on your body.

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