The state health department reported that flu activity is increasing in all regions and so far totals 25,362 laboratory-confirmed cases. Certain groups are at higher risk for serious illness from flu, including children younger than 5, pregnant women, people older than 65 and those with certain chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease.
"We are now in the height of flu season and we likely are not at the peak yet - meaning, we will likely see the number of flu cases continue to rise", Richards said.
"Seasonal flu vaccines are insufficient to prevent influenza outbreaks, and developing a universal influenza vaccine is the ideal strategy for eliminating public health threats of influenza epidemics and pandemics", the release says.
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Even though the flu season is well underway, the worst could still be ahead, so the CDC advises everyone older than 6 months to get a flu shot.
"It takes a couple of weeks after getting vaccinated for the flu vaccine to take effect", said Emily Hoisington, director of Nursing for Darke County General Health District.
The health unit says local flu activity has increased over the last three weeks.
This is likely an underrepresentation of the true number of those infected with influenza, or flu, throughout the state.
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According to SWUPHD epidemiologist Kassidy Peterson, 36 people - from "infants to the elderly" - have been hospitalized with the flu in those five counties this season. "People come in and they say, "I think I have a sinus infection", and it turns out it's influenza B".
Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and SC.
Flu activity is high nationally and statewide as of January, and residents are asked to take precautions, including getting a flu shot. There were 10,313 Mainers who tested positive for influenza in the 2018-19 flu season.
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