The flu bug is hitting Wisconsin hard, as confirmed cases have jumped to nearly 1,000. There have been over 1,200 hospitalizations compared to just 235 during the same period last year, according to tallies from the state Department of Health Services.
Shawano and Menominee Counties have also not been immune to the recent spike.
“This is flu season and we’re definitely right into it, so when flu season hits we normally expect an uptake in flu cases, and this year that uptake has definitely increased dramatically the last couple of weeks,” explained Shawano-Menominee County Director of Public Health Jamie Bodden.
She adds that this year has also seen more of a sudden increase of flu cases than in years prior.
“When flu season hits, it tends to kind of ramp up slowly and then kind of peak, and this year what we’re seeing is that ramp up wasn’t necessarily so slow coming; it hit really suddenly,” Bodden noted. “It’s definitely more cases this time of year than we had last year, but whether or not things die down quickly remains to be seen.”
Although some may feel it no longer worthwhile, or important to get a flu vaccination at this point of the year, Bodden says that’s not the case, especially with some of the more vulnerable in the population.
“The flu vaccine does take a couple of weeks to reach its full potency, but any preventative measure is better than zero preventative measure,” Bodden said. “That’s why we still recommend folks who haven’t gotten it to still get it, specifically targeting our more vulnerable populations.”
Those considered more vulnerable are kids, the elderly, families who have close relatives already with the flu, as well as pregnant women. Just one week ago, the Department of Health Services in Wisconsin saw 591 confirmed cases of the flu virus.