Kentucky's Department for Public Health has reported widespread flu activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Although flu season has come early to Kentucky, it's important to remember that most people recover from the flu in one to two weeks with no problems," said Dr. Rice Leach, Commissioner of Public Health. "It's also important that we all take basic steps to prevent the spread of flu or other illnesses, by covering our mouths when we cough and sneeze, washing our hands frequently, and staying home when sick."
Kentucky's state public health lab now reports 55 positive flu specimens from 24 counties. In addition, the Kentucky Department for Public Health has received reports of 463 positive rapid screening tests for flu from around the state. A map and table showing the locations of these results can be seen at a new DPH website tracking influenza surveillance in the state that will be updated Monday of each week, and again on Thursday if activity warrants. The website is at HYPERLINK "http://chs.state.ky.us/publichealth/influenza-flu.htm" http://chs.state.ky.us/publichealth/influenza-flu.htm
The FluMist live nasal flu vaccine is now available for purchase by local health departments at a discounted price considerably lower than the normal cost of the vaccine. The discounted price is being made available through an agreement between the CDC and the vaccine's distributor. FluMist is a recommended alternative to traditional flu vaccine for healthy people aged 5 to 49. Interested individuals should contact their local health department for details and to determine availability, and their health insurers to check coverage of FluMist.
The Department for Public Health also urges those providers with traditional flu vaccine remaining to focus vaccination efforts on those at highest risk for developing complications from the flu n healthy children aged six to 23 months, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women in their second or third trimester during influenza season, and persons over two years old with underlying chronic conditions.
Widespread flu activity means that the Department for Public Health's surveillance network reports increased flu-like illness and/or institutional outbreaks of flu-like illness or lab-confirmed flu in at least half the regions of the s t a t e a n d r e c e n t l a b c o n f i r m e d i n f l u e n z a i n t h e s t a t e . D P H u s e s t h e f i f t e e n A r e a D e v e l o p m e n t D i s t r i c t s f o r t h e p u r p o s e s o f s u r v e i l l a n c e a n d r e p o r t i n g .
S i m p l e s t e p s a v a i l a b l e t o e v e r y o n e c a n a l s o p r o t e c t a g a i n s t f l u a n d o t h e r i l l n e s s e s t h a t c i r c u l a t e a t t his time of year. Frequent hand washing and avoiding touching the nose, eyes, and mouth will help people avoid transmitting or getting the flu or other respiratory infections, like a cold. People who are ill should stay home from work or school to avoid transmitting disease.