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State Health Officials Predict A Much More Active Flu Season

Monday, November 15th, 2021 -- 10:03 AM

State health officials are predicting a much more active flu season this year and encouraging everyone to get a flu shot.

WBAY-TV reports that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is seeing a rise in flu cases. “That corresponds to what we’re seeing nationwide as well. There are unfortunately a lot of states that have had major outbreaks of influenza already, mainly in the universities and the colleges, so that will tell us that there will definitely be some kind of influenza season this year compared to last year, which again was pretty much non-existent,” said Tom Haupt, the DHS influenza surveillance coordinator. There were only 100 flu cases recorded statewide last year, compared to 36,000 cases the year before. Doctors attribute that to the mask mandates and social distancing efforts in place due to COVID-19. With COVID protocols much more relaxed, this flu season is expected to be much worse.

Haupt said, “I don’t anticipate that it’s going to be another year where we’re going to see extremely low numbers. The activity has increased. What we are seeing is the influenza AH3 virus. Historically AH3 viruses can tend to be more severe on people and cause more morbidity and more illnesses, but this is the reason we’re really trying to stress the fact that people getting vaccinated against the flu, especially with the co-circulation of the COVID-19 virus as well.” The DHS says Wisconsin’s rate of flu vaccinations is lower so far this year than what the state typically sees. Doctors say symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are nearly identical. If you do feel symptoms, they encourage you to stay home from work or school and get tested.

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