Increasing numbers of flu cases in Panola County

Published 8:25 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Flu cases are increasing in Panola County and across the county. Flu cases have been on the rise since October at levels that could make this the worst flu season in a decade. The CDC reports that positivity rates this week are at 18.2% for the influenza virus. This is 12x higher than in 2019. 

Dr. Kristie Alvarez with Alvarez Famly Medical in Batesville said “The last few years we have not seen much of a flu season, at least here in Mississippi. Everything is going around this year. We are seeing flu, strep, COVID, stomach viruses. We are seeing both A and B strains. 

Dr. Alvarez added that the severity of cases is something noticeably different. “The flu strain this year is more vicious with it’s cases. Where usually patients feel better in 3 days, this year patients are feeling bad for a week.” 

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At this point in the flu season, 78% of cases being detected were from influenza A(H3N2) and 22% were influenza A(H1N1). The good news is that the current vaccine that was developed for 2022 was formulated for the viruses being detected. 

The CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 6.2 million illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths from flu. 

The cumulative hospitalization rate is higher than the rate observed for the 3rd week of November since 2010-2011.

The CDC recommends the annual flu vaccine as the best way to protect against flu. Vaccination helps prevent infection and can also prevent serious outcomes in people who get vaccinated but still get sick with flu. It is not too late to get vaccinated this season.

There are also prescription flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness; those need to be started as early as possible.