Flu Season Underway in Illinois

Dec 15, 2014

The flu is spreading across the state of Illinois. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the state's influenza activity as "wide spread."

SIH Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Erica Kaufman says it's a little early - but not unusual to see this level of flu activity in southern Illinois.  She says they have seen a number of people present with flu like symptoms.  Kaufman says there's still time to get a flu shot this week.  She says peak influenza season begins in early January and it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks for the vaccine to take hold.  Dr. Kaufman also says it's important for all pregnant women to see their doctor and get a flu shot because they are at a high risk of complications from influenza.

Some area schools have had a number of children out sick with flu like symptoms.  Dr. Kaufman says it's normal to see an increase in the number of cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus or  RSV this time of year.  She says influenza usually follows RSV.

Kaufman says its a little too early to tell how effective this year's vaccines will be. She says it appears they are at about 50% .  Kaufman says that's less than they would like to see, but the vaccines are still providing protection that should help lessen the severity of the flu in those who have been vaccinated.
Dr. Kaufman says it's not uncommon to see flu activity through March and into early April.

The CDC flu report is available on line at www.cdc.gov