The influenza season is starting earlier this year across much of the country, including locally in Collin and Denton counties.
According to the Collin County Health Department there were 118 positive flu tests reported in Week 47, which covers Nov. 17-23.
That’s a jump from 70 positive tests in Week 46 and 44 in Week 45.
By comparison, there were only 27 positive tests in Week 47 of 2018.
There were more Type B cases reported (112) in Week 47 in Collin County than Type A cases (six). For the season Type B cases far outweigh Type A cases 260 to 44.
In Denton County positive cases have increased by nearly 100 over the course of a week. Week 47 numbers show 173 cases, which is an increase from 74 cases in Week 46 and 36 cases in Week 45.
In 2018 there were only 15 cases in Week 47.
There were 162 Type B cases in Week 47 this season compared to 11 Type A cases.
In all there have been 362 positive cases reported in Denton County this season.
Health officials encourage flu vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this potentially serious disease.
“Getting the vaccine is best line of defense against flu,” said Jawaid Asghar, chief epidemiologist for the Collin County Health Department.
The CDC states, “Antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus sometimes can provide protection against different but related flu viruses. A less than ideal match may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the flu virus that is different from what is in the flu vaccine, but it might still provide some protection against flu illness.”
“Your decision to get the flu shot provides defense against becoming sick with the flu, while also potentially protecting vulnerable populations who are at increased risk of complications from serious flu illness,” said Juan Rodriguez, chief epidemiologist for the Denton County Health Department. “The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the severity of illness for individuals who receive the vaccine but still get sick, including a reduction in flu-associated hospitalizations. We encourage community members over the age of 6 months to get the flu vaccine to protect yourself, family and friends.”