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Flu levels rise in Iowa

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hospitalization rate doubles, 3 flu strains circulating

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today urged Iowans who have not yet gotten their seasonal influenza shot to do so now.

Surveillance by IDPH and the State Hygienic Laboratory found three strains of flu continuing to occur in Iowa; fortunately, all three of these strains are covered by the vaccine.

In addition, more people are coming down with the flu and needing to be hospitalized. The influenza hospitalization rate doubled in the last week from 7 to 15.

"While the number of individuals hospitalized with the flu may still be small, this is a significant increase," said IDPH Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "We also know that now school is back in session, students will spread the virus to each other, their families, and the community."

It's not too late to get a flu shot. Receiving the vaccine now will provide protection against all three strains of the flu that are in Iowa "Each strain of the flu is different and unique," said Quinlisk. "Without vaccination, it is would be possible to get the flu three different times this year, which is very different from past years when typically only one strain of flu would be found."

For information about influenza and to see the weekly Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network report, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/iisn.asp. For information about the IDPH "Flu Ends With U" campaign, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/fluendswithu.asp.

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