Lynn Fellinger of Davis County Public Health said this week the Lab at Davis County Hospital & Clinics is “not seeing a ton of flu cases currently,” but what they are seeing is Influenza B.
State reports from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) show increasing influenza activity in Iowa since early December, especially the strain known as Influenza B.
Last week’s IDPH report states, “The geographic spread of influenza has been widespread across Iowa for three weeks and the percentage of positive influenza tests reported by clinical labs has been above 15%. Outpatient influenza-like illness during week 52 (the last week in December) was the highest reported (5%) for at least six seasons and hospitalizations due to influenza continue to approach or surpass peak rates of recent seasons.
“Influenza B (Victoria lineage) has been the predominate virus detected at Iowa’s State Hygienic Laboratory, followed by influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. A few influenza activity indicators dropped slightly this week; however, decreases are commonly seen during holiday weeks (i.e., schools are not in session, many medical clinics have reduced hours, and some patients may be more reluctant to seek medical care for more mild illnesses over the holidays) and it is too soon to tell if that trend will continue.”
Fellinger and the IDPH remind the public it is not too late to get vaccinated for influenza, as activity typically stays elevated through spring. Antiviral drugs are available to treat influenza, and should be given as early as possible after symptom onset to people who are very sick and those who are at high risk of developing severe illness, such as pregnant women, young children, older people and people with certain long-term health conditions.