Flu Watch 2012-13: Utah

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    Flu Watch 2012-13: Utah

    It’s that time of year again. There are reports this flu season is starting earlier with an increased number of cases. Remember that the young (up to 20’s), the elderly and pregnant moms-to-be are MOST vulnerable. You may want to consider reviewing your cough/cold/flu supplies and stocking them NOW.


    Hat Tip to “Pixie” over at Pandemic Flu Information:

    Flu season hitting Utah hard, early

    By Rachel Lowry, Deseret News
    Published: Monday, Jan. 7 2013 8:25 p.m. MST

    SALT LAKE CITY — This flu season is hitting Utah hard, health officials warn.

    Influenza season typically peaks around late January and February, but the trend this year has shown flu activity to be significantly higher than the past few years, with the exception of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, said Rebecca Ward, health educator at the Utah Department of Health.

    In fact, this season’s flu activity is occurring earlier than usual, with 117 hospitalized cases reported in Utah since September, Ward said.

    By the final week of December, the flu had hit 41 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Utah was among the highest states with influenza-like illness activity.

    Ultimately, it’s hard to tell how severe this year’s flu season will be, said Tom Skinner with the CDC. “But judging by the pace we are going, it looks like we will see a moderate to severe flu season.”

    By the end of December, outpatient visits for flu symptoms had climbed to nearly 20 percent in Utah, and flu-related child and infant deaths had reached about 6.5 percent according to the CDC.

    The particular strain of influenza circulating this year is H3N2, which tends to be more severe in children and the elderly, Skinner said. Symptoms include runny nose, rapid fever, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue.

    Canyons School Distict spokesman Jeff Haney said he has noticed a fluctuation in attendance numbers.

    “Today, in some locations, we saw an uptick of absences due to the flu or just illness in general,” Haney said.

    Other school districts, however, have remained relatively unaffected. Though there could be a slight increase in absenteeism, “we’re not seeing any huge aberrations in our attendance statistics,” said Ben Horsley, Granite School District spokesman.

    This year, absences increased nearly two absenses per 100 people per day, according to Utah Department of Health.


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