Flu cases few, unlike 2009

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, November 9, 2010

State health officials are reporting no confirmed cases of seasonal flu in the Covington County area, which is a dramatic change from last year’s H1N1 pandemic.

Thus far, officials have only reported a few influenza cases, Teresa Porter, District 9 emergency preparedness coordinator for ADPH said.

“Right now, we’re not seeing positive tests,” she said. “We did have a couple of reported cases in September in North Alabama., but that’s it.”

Porter said it’s a stark contrast from last year’s pandemic.

Still, Porter cautions that while the past couple years have bucked traditional trends, flu season typically runs from December to March.

“But it hasn’t typically done that in the last couple of years,” she said.

ADPH doesn’t normally record each individual case of the flu, like it did with the H1N1 last year.

“They did that during the pandemic to see where we were,” she said.

Still, Porter said ADPH does utilize local physicians to put together data.

“We have a couple of programs in which we use data provided by physicians,” she said. “For example a doctor mya report they are seeing influenza-like symptoms that includes a sore throat, cough and a little fever that they cannot diagnosis, say as a sinus infection.”

Porter said these numbers are used to determine if the flu is regional, widespread or sporadic.

Porter said that, while it’s impossible for ADPH to know exactly how many residents are receiving the vaccination, she does know there are a lot of opportunities for people to receive them.

“From all the area, there has been a lot of flu vaccine given,” she said. “The box store and local pharmacies are also giving them, it’s not limited to just the health departments and the doctors’ offices.”

Porter said she’s like to encourage everyone to protect themselves from the flu.

“Cover you cough. Stay at home if you’re sick, and wash your hands thoroughly,” she said.

Flu vaccinations are available at local physicians’ offices, the Covington County Health Department and local pharmacies.