Flu season could be as bad as 2009

Posted at: 01/03/2013 8:41 AM
Updated at: 01/03/2013 5:24 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Health officials say the nation is in the middle of a flu epidemic. Locally, we have had hundreds of cases. While doctors say this is nothing to worry about, it is the most active flu season since 2009.  

Doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center say in the beginning of November, they were seeing about five cases of the flu each week. By the end of that month, the cases had doubled. In December, it jumped to 30 cases a week and in the past few weeks, they have seen as many as 195 cases per week.

John Ricci, Monroe County Health Department, said, “Last year, we saw hardly any flu in Monroe county or really the rest of the country. This year, we are seeing quite a lot and it's much earlier that typical.”

Dr. John Treanor said, “It's probably the most active flu season we've had since the pandemic in 2009. In terms of regular seasonal influenza, it has to be one of the most active we've had in the last 10 years.”

According to the Monroe County Health Department, they have seen more than 900 confirmed cases of the flu. In Ontario County, they have seen 300 cases. In Wayne County, they have seen about 160 cases. Some people are asking why the increase this year.

Dr. Treanor said, “The kind of flu called h3n2 hasn't really done much in the last several years so it's been enough time so a lot of people are susceptible to that kind of virus.”

Ricci said, “It's really hard to say where it will go from here. There is basically two ways it can go. It can kind of burn itself out and we can end up having a shorter flu season, or it can continue to climb and there is just no way to accurately predict that.”

But there are things you can do to decrease your chances of getting sick this year.

Ricci said, “It's always a good idea to get a flu shot. Most people tend to get the shots in the months of September,  October, even November and in January. but it's actually still not too late to benefit from getting a flu shot.”

The local county health departments say they do still have flu shots if people are interested in getting them. Click here to find a flu shot clinic near you.