The latest weekly influenza surveillance report released by the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment shows suspected cases of the infection are at a five-year high.
The report released Feb. 7 shows more than 900 cases of influenza. The weekly incidence report had not previously topped 800 cases any time since the 2014-15 season.
Barbara Mitchell, the county’s Community Health Division Director, said that the numbers are consistent with the wave of flu activity being reported across the country, and track with numbers reported in Jackson County, Mo., as well, suggesting that the active flu season in Johnson County is not anomalous.
“Current flu activity is consistent with what’s going on across the county,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell noted that only physician-confirmed flu cases are reported in the county’s tracker. Because the county relies on hospitals, urgent care facilities and other healthcare providers to voluntarily report flu cases, Mitchell said, the number of actual flu cases is likely higher than what’s reflected in the report.
Mitchell said that it’s important for residents to remember that it’s not too late to get vaccinated for the flu. In addition to reducing the likelihood that an individual will get sick, the vaccine helps stem the spread of the disease, which can cause serious, even life-threatening complications. If you suspect that you have the flu, you can help stop the spread of the disease by:
- staying home if you’re sick
- isolating yourself from contact with other people
- cleaning frequently touched surfaces often
- covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
- and washing your hands frequently.
This year’s flu season appears to be peaking a good deal earlier than last year’s. The peak of last year’s flu season didn’t come until March.