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Health

Influenza on the Rise in Greene County

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The number of flu cases is on the rise in Greene County.  During the week of December 7th through 13th, 217 people were diagnosed with the flu—212 with Influenza A and five with Influenza B.  That’s up 70 cases from the previous week.

According to a news release from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control has warned that Influenza A has been the predominate flu strain nationally this year.  If that trend continues, officials say, “the guidance points to a more severe flu season.”

Kendra Findley, the administrator for community health and epidemiology for the health department, encourages everyone to get their flu shot.  She says, while it’s “not perfect, it is our best defense.”

Everyone over the age of 6 months is recommended to be vaccinated.  “There has been some evidence nationally that a strain of H3N2 has mutated, making this year’s vaccine less effective against that specific virus,” according to the news release.  Officials don’t know if that virus has appeared in Springfield, but they say, regardless, the flu vaccine should still be a top priority.

To find out where flu vaccines are available, click here.

Other things you can do to try to protect yourself include washing your hands often with soap and water and staying home if you’re sick.  Cover coughs and sneezes and stay away from those who are sick.  And if you do get the flu, see your doctor.  Anti-viral drugs can lessen the severity of the flu.

More information on the flu, including weekly updates on Greene County numbers and the latest from the CDC, is available at health.springfieldmo.gov.