Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

Flu Level Raised to Widespread in Kentucky

cdc2 300FRANKFORT, Ky. (1/7/14) - Kentucky Department for Public Health officials reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week that the influenza (flu) activity level in the state has increased from regional to widespread. Widespread activity is the highest level of flu activity, which indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state. The activity levels for states are tracked weekly as part of the CDC's national flu surveillance system.

"With current widespread flu activity being reported in Kentucky and across much of the nation, now is a good time to protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated for flu," said Stephanie Mayfield, M.D., commissioner of DPH. "We are strongly urging anyone who hasn't received a flu vaccine, particularly those at high risk for complications related to the flu, to check with their health care provider, local health department or pharmacy about vaccine availability."

The flu season can begin as early as October, which is when Kentucky reported its first cases this year, and last through May. January is still a good time to get vaccinated against the flu because peak activity often comes in the early months of the year. Vaccination can be given any time during the flu season, and there is a plentiful vaccine supply this season. Since it takes approximately two weeks for vaccine to become fully effective, Kentuckians should not delay vaccination, Dr. Mayfield said.

The best way to protect against the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals 6 months of age and older. People who are especially encouraged to receive the flu vaccine, because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences, include:

 * Children age 6 months to 19 years;
 * Pregnant women;
 * Young and middle-aged adults for the 2013-2014 influenza season;
 * People 50 years old or older;
 * People of any age with chronic health problems;
 * People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
 * Health care workers;
 * Caregivers of or people who live with a person at high risk for complications from the flu; and
 * Out-of-home caregivers of, or people who live with, children less than 6 months old.

Kentuckians should receive a new flu vaccination each season for optimal protection. Influenza strains currently circulating most widely in Kentucky appear to be covered by this season's vaccine, according to officials.

During the current flu season, CDC has received a number of reports of severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults infected with the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic strain, which first emerged in 2009.

Hospitalizations and some fatalities have been reported. During the H1N1 pandemic, children and young adults tended to experience more serious illness, compared to older adults, although severe illness was seen in all age groups.

"In this flu season so far, H1N1 has continued to circulate and there have been reports nationally of severe illness in young and middle-aged adults," said Dr. Mayfield. "We strongly recommend vaccination of children, teenager and young to middle-aged adults, even if they are healthy, to prevent the spread of and complications from the flu this year. All forms of flu vaccine available in Kentucky this year provide protection against the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus."

Healthy, non-pregnant people age 2-49 years can be vaccinated with either the flu shot or the nasal vaccine spray. An intradermal influenza vaccination uses a smaller needle and can be given to adults 18 through 64 years of age. Children younger than 9 years old who did not receive a flu vaccination during the last flu season should receive a second dose four or more weeks after their first vaccination.

Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. Flu is a very contagious disease caused by the flu virus, which spreads from person to person.

Approximately 23,000 deaths due to seasonal flu and its complications occur on average each year in the U.S., according to recently updated estimates from the CDC. However, actual numbers of deaths vary from year to year.

For more information on influenza or the availability of flu vaccine, please contact your local health department or visit http://healthalerts.ky.gov.

In addition to flu vaccine, DPH strongly encourages all adults 65 or older and others in high risk groups to ask their health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine. This vaccine can help prevent a type of pneumonia, one of the flu's most serious and potentially deadly complications.

"The pneumococcal vaccine is extremely safe, effective, can be taken at any time of year and is currently available in an adequate supply," Dr. Mayfield said.

Caused by bacteria, pneumococcal disease can result in serious pneumonia, meningitis or blood infections. According to the CDC, pneumococcal disease kills more people in the U.S. each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. Between 20,000 and 40,000 deaths are attributed to flu and pneumonia nationally each year, with more than 90 percent of those deaths occurring in people age 65 and older.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 12, 2014 17180

Woman's Body Found in Theater Day After…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 13, 2014 3506

MPD Responds to a Disturbance at Baptist…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 11, 2014 3211

Subject of Officer-Involved Shooting…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 11, 2014 2546

Suspect Arrested for Possession of…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 11, 2014 2445

Two Accidents Occur on U.S. 62 Within…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 13, 2014 3506

MPD Responds to a Disturbance at Baptist…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 11, 2014 2546

Suspect Arrested for Possession of…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 11, 2014 2003

Three Injured in Early Morning Two-Car…

in Top Stories by Officer Falon Graham
September 12, 2014 1868

Madisonville Man Arrested for Disturbing…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 12, 2014 1556

Earlington Woman Jailed for Trying to…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Matt Sanderson

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 11, 2014 1497

Owensboro Police Department Activity…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
September 11, 2014 1458

Owensboro Parks Plans Fall Day Camp

in News by Brittni Bunn
September 11, 2014 1237

Special Events Committee Meeting Date,…

in News by Beth Cecil
September 11, 2014 1237

Daviess County Public Library Plans Events

in News by Leslie McCarty
September 12, 2014 1180

Ursuline Presentation 'Spirituality of…

in News by Jennifer Kaminski

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 11, 2014 3211

Subject of Officer-Involved Shooting…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 11, 2014 2445

Two Accidents Occur on U.S. 62 Within…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 15, 2014 2297

Man Accused of Stalking Woman During Her…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 11, 2014 1947

Job Corps Students Volunteer with…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
September 12, 2014 1862

Paradise Residents Plan First Reunion…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06