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Flu widespread in Missouri, doctor says influenza A and B “on the rise”

Bad news for your immune system: flu season isn’t over yet.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the flu an epidemic. During the second week in January, a total of 8,022 cases were reported in Missouri. MU Health treated 289 confirmed cases of influenza A and B last week.

“We started to see flu very early this year. Back in October, we saw flu cases and then, really, right around Christmastime, we really saw a huge spike in flu,” Dr. Tara Flynn, with MU Health, told ABC 17 News.

Dr. Flynn said there are three possible reasons for why the flu is so widespread: cases are milder, so people aren’t going to the doctor; the vaccine isn’t as protective; and the cold weather is keeping people inside.

Flynn said she doesn’t believe this year’s flu outbreak has reached its peak.

“It seems like both of them are on the rise, still,” she said of influenza A and influenza B.

Since the beginning of the flu season, 659 people in Missouri have died from flu-related illnesses. Flynn said the data isn’t available yet to know why Missouri seems to be ground zero for the outbreak.

She also said it’s not too late to get a flu shot, even though this year’s vaccine doesn’t seem to be as protective.

“The severe illnesses a lot of times are in people who do not get the flu shot. So, getting your flu shot would be No. 1 and then, wash your hands. Don’t touch your face,” Flynn said.

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