SE Michigan counties report increase in flu cases this season, so far
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 07:57:27 AM EST
Tests now confirm what doctors suspected: 15-year-old Joshua Polenha, a student at Lake Fenton High School, died from influenza.
Polenha was otherwise healthy but became the fourth child in Michigan to die from the flu.
Across the state, some 285 cases of influenza have been confirmed by state labs. However, the true number of cases is far higher since most people never are tested.
Eighty percent of those cases were due to the H3N2 strain of the virus which has a bad reputation for causing more severe symptoms.
The good news: that virus is included in this year's flu vaccine, meaning the vaccine is what is called a "good match."
County-by-county flu report
In Wayne County, health officials are seeing cases much earlier than last year. The Health Department has an ample supply of the flu vaccine and flu shots are just $5 each.
In Oakland County, hospitals and the community are reporting an increase in flu activity.
The Health Department also reports an increase in demand for flu shots this week. They've already given more than 20,000 shots but still have plenty available. Flu shots are $16.
In Washtenaw County, officials are calling it a "moderately severe season" so far. Cases of influenza are still trending up and haven't yet peaked.
The Health Department says they have seen more hospitalizations so far this year than all of last flu season.
Vaccine supplies are and shots are $20 in Washtenaw County.
In Monroe County, the Health Department reports 20 confirmed cases, a higher number than this time last year.
Vaccine is still available. Shots are $25 but many insurances are accepted.
In Macomb County, health officials are seeing an increase in flu cases and expect those numbers to keep climbing.
They have an adequate supply of vaccine and report more families are getting vaccinated. Flu shots are $15.
Flu season off to early start this time around
Health officials want to stress this year's flu season is off to an early start, but it's impossible to predict if it will be any worse than typical years.
However, given the deaths seen each year from the flu, people need to take it seriously.
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Health officials say this year's flu vaccine is a good match for the H3N2 strain of the virus.