State health officials urging Kansans to get flu vaccine amidst widespread cases of flu

Feb 1, 2017

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Health officials are urging Kansans to get flu vaccines in the wake of high levels of influenza striking most regions of the state.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reporting that Kansas is now experiencing widespread influenza activity.

According to a news release from KDHE, it has received reports of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, schools and day cares.

“It is not too late to get your seasonal influenza vaccine,” said Susan Mosier, MD, MBA, FACS, KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “I urge Kansans who have not yet taken this precaution to do so as soon as possible.”

Influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone six months of age and older, the news release said, and being vaccinated against influenza is especially important for anyone at high risk of complications and for anyone who is caring for children younger than five years of age.

Flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, extreme tiredness and muscle aches. Complications can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections and dehydration.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Kansas in the highest category for influenza-like illnesses for the third week (Jan. 15 to 21, 2017) of influenza season, alongside Oklahoma, Alabama, South Carolina and New Jersey.

Depending on the severity of the flu season, 5 to 20 percent of the population may get the flu each year. During the peak of the 2015-16 flu season in Kansas, approximately 3 percent of all health care visits in clinics were due to flu-like illness, according to KDHE, and influenza or pneumonia contributed to or was the direct cause of 903 deaths among Kansans during the 2015-16 flu season.