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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Department for Public Health Urges Kentuckians to Get Holiday Flu Shots

Press Release Date:  Friday, December 15, 2006  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Crace, (502) 564-6786  


           
Department for Public Health Urges Kentuckians to Get Holiday Flu Shots
Flu Vaccine Widely Available Across the Commonwealth

FRANKFORT, KY (Dec. 15, 2006) –  With the start of influenza season signaled by the first lab-confirmed influenza cultures, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) would like to urge Kentuckians to get a flu shot to help protect their families from illness over the holidays.
"More flu vaccine is available nationally this year than ever before," said Kraig Humbaugh, M.D., state epidemiologist. "Across the commonwealth, plenty of vaccine is still available. Getting a flu shot is the best way to prevent an illness that can make people severely ill for several days or, in some cases, even cause serious complications or death."
So far DPH has received reports of five culture-confirmed influenza cases, from Woodford, Fayette, Jefferson and Anderson counties. During last year's flu season, 602 culture-confirmed cases were reported. Kentuckians who need assistance locating flu shots in their area can call the Kentucky Influenza Hotline at (502)564-5353 during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).
"Last year's flu season lasted through April. Now is an excellent time for those Kentuckians who may have procrastinated to go ahead and get vaccinated against the flu," said Humbaugh. "The potential for exposure to flu and other illnesses increases over the holidays, but our peak periods of illness usually occur in January, February or March. Within 10 days of getting your shot, you develop protection against the flu that is circulating."
DPH reports confirmed cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of statewide flu surveillance efforts. Kentucky’s flu activity is currently classified as "sporadic," the lowest level indicating flu activity. The flu season can begin as early as October and last through April. Most other states are also reporting sporadic activity. Surveillance efforts serve as a tracking system to follow the patterns and types of flu each year; they are not meant to reflect a full count of all flu cases.
DPH urges anyone who hasn’t received a flu vaccine, particularly those in the groups at high risk for complications related to the flu, to contact their local health departments or health care provider about getting a flu shot. Older Kentuckians should also consider getting the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine.
 For more information about the flu, visit DPH's Web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/Influenza.htm or CDC’s Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/



 

Last Updated 12/15/2006