Health and Family Services Cabinet
First Influenza Cases Confirmed in Fayette, Woodford County Residents
FRANKFORT, KY (Dec. 11, 2006) – Three lab-confirmed positive influenza cultures have been reported to the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), indicating the presence of flu in the state. With more flu vaccine available this year than ever before, state health officials urge Kentuckians to get a flu shot to help protect their families from illness over the holidays.
The cases involve two Fayette County residents and one Woodford County resident. DPH reports the results 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.
"The best prevention for influenza is getting a flu shot. This year there is plenty of vaccine available across the state,” said William Hacker, M.D., acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner. “As the holidays approach, people will be traveling and families will gather together. The potential for exposure to flu and other illnesses increases over the holidays. With the flu season just beginning, there is still plenty of time to become protected against the flu.”
Hacker urged 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.
”You should also follow the advice your mother gave you in order to stay healthy," said Hacker. "Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home when you’re sick."
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, ). 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/