Number of flu cases in McLennan County on the rise

Posted: 2:13 PM, Feb 27, 2017
Updated: 2018-07-25 01:30:43Z

The number of flu cases in McLennan County has increased in the past few weeks. 

During the week of Jan. 29, there were 291 influenza-like illnesses reported to the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District but two weeks later that number increased to 410.

"There are multiplying, doubling. Each week we are getting more and more cases, definitely indicating we are in peak season right now,” McLennan County Public Health District Spokeswoman Kelly Craine said.

She said the flu cases could continue to remain consistent with the current numbers or even go up.

"It's important to tell people to keep your guard up to realize flu is here and it is throughout the state of Texas so to protect themselves, so if you are sick, stay home or see a physician,” Craine said.

Providence Healthcare Network Dr. Gregory Newman said a third of his patients at Providence Express Care on Woodway Drive with the flu got vaccinated previously.

“The flu shot is slightly less effective than it would be in an average season but it's still pretty good for what we would see when we are looking at the effectiveness of the flu shot,” Newman said.

He added those who created the flu vaccine guessed it right.

"We have a lot of times where we have multiple flu strains and sometimes those strains find their immunity from the shot," Newman said.

However, he still advises patients to get vaccinated.

"Even though it may be less effective in prior seasons, the people that are having the shot, I'm seeing them with milder symptoms where they don't have the body aches, quite the fever, and they get over it faster than those who didn't get immunized,” Newman said.

In Bell County, there was in increase in flu at the end of January and it peaked the second week of February. Since then the numbers have started to decrease, according to the Bell County Public Health District.

In Brazos County, at the end of January the number of flu cases were 147. That number increased to 374 on Feb. 11.

In Texas, there was an increase in flu cases in January and the first week of February. However, the number of cases started decreasing the week of Feb. 5, the same week one pediatric influenza-associated death was reported. The flu has also forced several school districts to close. On January 20th, Aquilla ISD closed its schools due to a flu outbreak .

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