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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Number of influenza cases in area increasing

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

(Photo)
Brenda Freed, health educator for the Scott County Health Department, pictured right, instructs expectant mother Tanya Deckard of Benton on proper hand-washing technique. Scott Welton, Staff
SIKESTON -- With the number of flu cases up it is time to get down to some hand-washing.

"Right now is the beginning of flu season and it goes through spring," said Karen Evans, a registered nurse in charge of communicable disease at the Scott County Health Department.

An increase in the number of influenza cases was seen locally in the last two weeks, Evans said, with over 60 cases reported at the Health Department -- and that number does not include those who are treated at the hospital or who do not seek medical attention.

Last year's figures were not available for a comparison but Evans said this is definitely a higher number of cases than normal.

The influenza shot is developed each year to vaccinate against the three flu types experts believe will present the greatest risk -- but picking those in advance of the coming flu season includes, like all predictions, some guess work. "One of the type Bs was missed this year in the flu shot," Evans said.

The influenza shot is still worth getting, she said, as "it covers more than just the one strain."

Anyone can improve their odds even against strains not included in the vaccine, however.

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