Flu is on the rise across the state of Texas and Amarillo is no exception. The City of Amarillo Department of Public Health tracks flu trends in the community every year and is reporting an increase in influenza cases.
“There were almost three times the reports of positive Influenza A rapid test results during the Christmas break compared to the week before. This is a clear indication that flu season is here and everyone needs to be protected,” says Dr. Matt Richardson, director of Public Health. “We encourage vaccination now so that we have a protected population to extend for the entire influenza season – it’s not too late.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also reporting widespread flu illness in Texas. According to the CDC, the predominant strain of circulating influenza virus is H1N1. Both Influenza A viruses being cultured in the United States are contained in this year’s vaccine.
Public health officials are emphasizing that all people 6 months of age and older should get flu vaccine. Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe influenza and their close contacts. It is important to get the flu shot each year as protection can decrease from year to year and the strains can change.
The Department of Public Health will continue to monitor the community for flu activity to keep everyone informed.
“We partner with local physicians and hospitals, on a voluntary basis, to get weekly numbers so we can show community trends,” says Dr. Roger Smalligan, Health Authority for Potter and Randall counties. “This information is only useful if the public responds by getting the flu shot, following prevention tips like hand-washing, staying home when ill and consulting your doctor when symptoms first appear.”
For additional information, call the City of Amarillo Department of Public Health at (806) 378-6300.