Flu cases rising in Greene County; cases higher than previous years

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 3:40 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Flu season is here.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department reports a rise in recent influenza cases. As of Monday, Dec. 6, Greene County reported 86 active cases of the flu. Ages 5-24 make up just under half of those flu cases.

“We have 84 cases reported so far and that’s actually higher than what we would typically see,” said Kendra Findley, administrator of community health and epidemiology with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. “Last year we only had 70 cases for the entire season.”

The health department expects we will see an increase in cases due to people no longer masking or social distancing, which kept us from having a typical flu season.

“Take time to get a flu vaccine every year, even if it proves to be less effective this year, some protection is better than none,” says Findley.

“Everyone over the age of six months is recommended to be vaccinated,” says Findley. “Even if you were vaccinated last year, it is important to get vaccinated again this year to protect from changing flu viruses.”

“I expect us to have a usual flu season this year and we can’t compare to last year, because we did not have a flu season at all,” said William Sistrunk, infectious diseases physician at Mercy. “The numbers are increasing in Missouri and Greene County.”

Sistrunk says he believes the peak is beginning.

“We expect the influenza season this year to peak probably in December or January,” said Sistrunk. “The important things are that the symptoms of flu are very similar to COVID.”

Mercy says it’s important to be tested for both COVID-19 and flu because it’s important to differentiate exactly what virus you have if you have symptoms so you can be appropriately treated.

“We all want to make sure that we’re fully vaccinated for COVID and also have had our influenza vaccinations, which are readily available now at your physician’s offices or your local drugstore,” said Sistrunk. “You can get the flu and COVID vaccination on the same day as well.”

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