Feedback: High Number Of Flu Cases Concerns Doctors


Story Updated: Nov 29, 2012

This year, flu season is hitting hard and hitting early in parts of the north country.

Jefferson County Public Health Service is reporting 301 confirmed cases of influenza in the county since October 17.

The last flu season, which ran from October 2011 through May 2012, had its first reported case on March 5, 2012.

There were only 57 cases of influenza confirmed in Jefferson County during the entire previous season.  

"People are shopping. They're coming and going. They get together more. They're inside more.  So that's why the flu is going to spread more in the winter," said Faith Lustick of Jefferson County Public Health Service.

Jefferson County currently has more than 5 times the number of flu cases than was seen all of last season. 

The trend is also seen this year in Lewis County.

Officials said there have been 32 cases of flu so far this season, which is way up from last season.

St. Lawrence County officials said they've only had 3 confirmed cases so far, which is typical for this time of year.

Officials said last year was a mild one for flu.

But even compared to historical data, this season's numbers are high.

"I'm concerned.  It's earlier than typical.  We usually see flu kick in in December or January.  I don't remember having so many cases in November, December," said Dr. Joseph Wetterhahn of Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown.

So, what can you do to avoid getting the flu this season? 

Doctors say getting vaccinated is a really good start.

"Everything that people are catching you can be protected from with a flu shot," Dr. Wetterhahn.

Wetterhan says he's worried that not enough people are getting flu shots this year. 

But he says it's not too late and now is a good time to get vaccinated to help stop the spread of the flu this season.

Vaccinations are available at area pharmacies and many health care provider offices.  

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Ron Smith said on Thursday, Nov 29 at 7:11 PM

Thinking that you are totally protected from getting the flu after you get a flu shot is all hogwash. I got the flu shot earlier this fall and then a few weeks later my doctor diagnosed me as having the flu. When I asked my doctor how I could have the flu after getting the flu shot he said the flu shot only protects against a few strains of the flu and the strain that I apparently have was not protected by the flu shot. The flu shot was received at Jefferson County Public Health and my doctor is Doctor Shambo in Copenhagen.

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