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Updated December 19, 2014

Fu epi curve 12-13Kentucky is reporting flu at the widespread level, meaning that outbreaks of flu or increases in flu-like illnness have been reported in at least half the regions of the state. It is the highest level of flu activity.

In Northern Kentucky, 617 cases of flu had been reported through December 13, a huge increase from the previous week, when 178 cases had been reported. The graph at right shows the increase. Cases for the next report, covering the week ending December 19, are coming in quickly as well.

Other interesting facts:

In the 2013-2014 flu season, Northern Kentucky had a total of 1,341 cases reported with five deaths.

Flu vaccine

An annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older is the best way to protect against influenza. It does, however, take two weeks after you get the vaccine for it to be fully effective.

This year, monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a concerning trend: One of the main viruses circulating so far this season is not matched to the vaccine. This virus, a strain of the H3N2, has historically been associated with more severe illness and mortality, especially in older people and young children.

However, the vaccine still offers protection against other strains of flu that circulate.Antibodies created through vaccination with one influenza virus can offer some protection against different influenza viruses (this is called cross-protection).

If you get the flu, the vaccine may give your body the help it needs to make the illness less severe.

The Health Department will offer a limited number of doses of flu vaccine by appointment at its four county health centers. Call the health center most convenient for you for details.

Cost is $20, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. Some may have the fees reduced and even eliminated through either a federal program providing vaccines to children or for individuals covered by Medicaid.

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs that can cause respiratory illness like the flu. While these actions are helpful, remember that vaccination is the most important step in preventing the flu.

Fact sheet
Details about flu are contained in our fact sheet.

News release
Read our latest news release about seasonal flu.

Flu vs. Ebola
While Ebola cases in the U.S. and its wide spread in Africa are concerning, we must not forget to protect ourselves against more common illnesses, like flu. Read an editorial from Health Department Director Lynne Saddler about relative risks of flu and Ebola in Northern Kentucky.

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