AROUND 300 FLU CASES THUS FAR LOCALLY
Like the majority of the United States, Missouri has been experiencing increased respiratory disease activity caused by multiple viruses, including flu and RSV that is occurring especially among children.
Platte County Health Department officials said the county is also noting the trend.
“Yes, we are seeing the same sort of increase. We have a new dashboard on our website, the same page as the COVID dashboard, that talks about flu numbers,” said Aaron Smullin, public information officer for the Platte County Health Department.
As of Nov. 30, Platte County was noting 272 total flu cases had been reported to the health department this flu season, with 93 coming during the week of Nov. 20-26.
About 260 of the 272 were reported as the Type A flu.
The Platte County Health Department numbers cover only those parts of the county that are outside of the Kansas City limits. Flu cases for Platte Countians who live within the city limits of Kansas City are reported to the Kansas City Health Department.
A tweet from the Platte County Health Department on Monday of this week said: “This flu season is already more severe than previous seasons. Flu hospitalizations are higher than they’ve been in 10 years.”
The CDC says the Type A flu is characterized by symptoms that may include fever/feeling feverish or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.
The CDC says some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is now offering free testing for flu, RSV and SARS-CoV-2 (virus causing COVID-19) at several Missouri locations through March 2023. A single nasal swab will allow for detection of these three viruses. Patients of all ages can be tested. A map of locations and the sites’ schedules can be found at health.mo.gov/communitytest. Additional sites will continue to be added.
“Although cases overall have not increased in severity, the increased volume has caused a strain on our health care partners,” said Dr. George Turabelidze, state epidemiologist with DHSS. “Ultimately, we need families to remember how important it is that they stay home when sick. Also, we are fortunate to have vaccines available for flu and COVID-19, and it’s important to stay up to date on these.”
For the week of Oct. 30 through Nov. 5, there were 1,738 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu, compared to 1,280 cases the week before, bringing the statewide total for the season which began Oct. 2, to 4,016 cases. While RSV is not a reportable condition to DHSS in Missouri, CDC tracks state-level trends that show an increase in RSV detections in Missouri.
The flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue (tiredness), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches and headaches.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms including fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and in infants, fussiness and poor feeding. It can progress to more severe symptoms such as fast or short breathing or wheezing, and in infants and young children, grunting noises when breathing or chest caving in during breathing. While persons of any age can develop RSV, it is most common in children under age 2 and can be severe, especially for infants and older adults. Most people will recover in one to two weeks.
If you are sick, the best thing to do is avoid being around others and seek testing to determine next steps. If patients have preexisting health conditions or severe symptoms, treatment may be needed, and each virus requires a different approach. Indoor gatherings, which are common in the fall and winter, provide more opportunities for the transmission of respiratory viruses. Handwashing and staying up to date on vaccinations are some of the best ways to prevent the spread of viruses.
Some Missouri hospitals are experiencing strain right now due to this increased viral activity. DHSS reminds Missourians to only use the emergency room in the event of actual emergencies.