Recent numbers show increase in flu cases nationwide - WNEM TV 5

Recent numbers show increase in flu cases nationwide

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

The warming weather this week does not appear to be doing any favors to the ongoing flu season, which is already taking a heavy toll on hospitals across the state.

Recent numbers show a spike in new cases, trending higher than last year and above regional averages.

The flu epidemic has hit Mid-Michigan and is spreading quicker than ever.

"It's a stronger, different flu strain," said Heidi Brechtelsbauer, clinical services director for the Great Lakes Bay Health Centers.

Studies by the Center for Disease Control show influenza had an outbreak within the U.S. at the end of 2017.

The geographic spread of influenza has been reported in at least 46 states and is categorized as widespread.

In Mid-Michigan, many are still debating over whether or not a flu shot is really needed.

"I let my body fight it off," one resident said.

At the start of the cold and flu season even health centers, like the Great Lakes Bay, have noticed an influx in patients.

"We're just at the beginning of it in our local areas. So it hasn't hit full force yet. We won't know until that happens," Brechtelsbauer said.

She said trying to convince the public towards vaccinations isn't always successful. She explained the earlier they come in for treatment, the better it will be for them in the long run.

"We can prescribe anti-virals if we see the patients at the very beginning of the symptoms. But that's very time limited. We need to see patients as soon as they're sick if we're going to treat them," Brechtelsbauer said.

Since Oct. 1, Michigan has has zero deaths attributed to the flu.

According to the CDC, nationwide there have been 12 pediatric deaths and more than 350 adult deaths.

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