The flu season appears to be starting early this year.
Flu cases have spiked in recent days across the state, including in Denton County.
According to data from the Denton County Health Department there were 74 flu positive flu tests reported in the county in the week ending Nov. 16. That’s up from 36 the week before.
Compared to the same time period in 2018 there were 12 positive tests.
From Sept. 28 to Nov. 16 of this year there were 189 positive tests. That compares to 58 in that same period in 2018.
“Flu season is normally from October through May,” said Juan Rodriguez, assistant director and chief epidemiologist with Denton County Public Health. “It is very unpredictable when cases will start increasing, when flu season will peak and how long flu season will last.”
Type B appears to be the most prominent flu strain. In Denton County there were 169 Type B strains through Nov. 16 versus 20 Type A strains.
Rodriguez said it’s too early in the season to know the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine. But he said it’s important for anyone ages 6 months and older to get a flu shot, especially people at high risk for serious flu complications and their close contacts.
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,” Rodriguez said. “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.”