October 24, 2014

Statewide flu cases climb

The state Department of Health Services says cases of influenza in Wisconsin continue to climb.

As of Friday afternoon, DHS officials report there have been 4,249 confirmed flu cases in the state this season. The agency also says at least 1,360 people have been hospitalized with complications related to the flu virus.

The numbers are more than double all of the recorded infections in the state during the 2011-12 season, which only say 2,034 cases of the flu. Those figures only include confirmed cases, and could have actually been much higher based on the number of people who many not have sought medical attention for their illness. Health officials have also noted that last year was a relatively mild season, and the current spike in cases could just be a return to normal.

One child has died from flu-related complications. The state does not track deaths among adults.

Cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks, as the flu season hits its peak. State health officials are urging the public to consider getting a flu shot. The vaccine needs two weeks to take full effect and does not completely protect individuals from all forms of influenza, but a report released Friday indicates the shot is 60 percent effective against the strains it targets.