Health officials seeing flu widespread throughout Siouxland

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – Siouxland District Health says influenza is now widespread in Siouxland.

Health officials say this time of year is the peak season for the flu.

They say right now people are seeing several symptoms, including fever, fatigue, body aches, and headaches.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the flu level is widespread in the state.

They say the predominant strain is the H3N2 of Influenza A.

The South Dakota Department of Health says they are seeing increased influenza-like illnesses and institutional outbreaks in at least half of the state’s regions.

The Iowa Department of Public Health says they are seeing widespread influenza cases, with 28 influenza-related hospitalizations reported.

And at least 10 percent of students are absent with the flu in 24 Iowa schools, according to the latest statistics from health officials.

So with all three states seeing widespread cases, what exactly does that mean?

Siouxland District Health said there are either outbreaks or an increase of influenza activity in at least half of the regions of the state.

So how well is the flu vaccine this year working?

“The statistics as far as efficacy and effectiveness aren’t out yet, it’s a little bit early for that yet,” said Tyler Brock, the Siouxland District Health Deputy Director.

But just because those stats aren’t available doesn’t mean the flu vaccine isn’t working.

“The virus strains that are circulating around predominantly are included in the vaccine so it should work pretty well,” said Brock.

Brock said it’s important to remember the vaccine is meant to lessen the severity of flu symptoms.

So then what exactly is the purpose of the flu shot?

“The primary intent is not to prevent all symptoms of influenza all the time. The primary focus of the vaccine is to be effective at preventing the hospitalizations, be effective at preventing the deaths from influenza so, that’s the primary focus of the vaccine,” said Brock.

Brock says this year’s vaccine should be working pretty well against the strains that are being seen right now.

“The primary ones are the Influenza A, the H1N1 strain. And, then there are a few other Influenza A’s that are the H3 strains so again, it’s the H1N1 that’s the predominant one this year,” said Brock.

Health officials say the elderly, small children and those with health problems are more at risk to get severe symptoms of the flu.

They recommend those that fall within that group to go to a doctor if they start seeing flu symptoms.

Ashly Richardson

Ashly Richardson

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