State health officials report widespread flu activity across Kentucky for the first time this influenza season.
Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Jeff Howard says flu is now seen in more than 50 percent of the Commonwealth’s counties. He calls it a typical progression and stresses it’s certainly not too late to get a flu shot, which is the best preventive measure. Howard says it’s too soon to say how effective this year’s vaccine is in preventing the flu.
“Last year flu vaccination was somewhere between 30 and 40 percent, 35 and 45 percent effective overall. Preventing 35 to 45 percent of flu cases is valuable and makes the vaccine worthwhile,” said Howard.
So far, there are five related flu deaths, compared to 12 at this point a year ago. “I think this flu season is going to be more mild than last and that is expected by the Centers for Disease Control and other national organizations. But, we're seeing a fairly typical flu season. This may still end up being a little worse than average,” noted Howard.
Howard stresses getting a flu shot remains the best way to prevent the ailment. Adequate supplies of flu vaccine are available for this year’s flu season.