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Updated March 4, 2015Flu activity to date 2-28-15

Kentucky is reporting flu at the regional level, meaning that outbreaks of flu or increases in flu-like illnness have been reported in at least two but less than half of the regions of the state.

In Northern Kentucky, record-breaking flu numbers were reported in late December, but reports have slowed since. For the season, a total of 3,124 cases were reported through February 28; of those just 7were reported between February 22 and 28.

Five deaths have been reported: four in adults age 65 and older; and one in a child under 18.

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.

The vaccine is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older, but adults age 65 and older or with chronic medical conditions should be sure to get vaccinated. The Health Department is offering doses of the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, which is designed to create a stronger immune response, and therefore, better protect, older adults from flu.

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.

Half-page handout on flu prevention tips
Sample letter for child care/preschools: PDF, Word

More information
Submit a question by e-mail