By Yessenia Anderson
MEDFORD, Ore. — Health officials are closing the book on the flu season; it’s being called a record setting year.
The record was for how few people got sick. Here at the Jackson County Health Department officials say the extremely small number of flu cases reported nationally are similar to what they saw Southern Oregon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this flu season had the smallest number of people getting sick and had the shortest peak for flu-like illness on record. In Jackson County, health officials say there are certain factors that may have contributed to those low numbers. The virus that most circulated our area this season was the norovirus, most commonly known as the stomach flu. But local hospitals say their emergency rooms were cleared of those flu patients.
While the flu can cause severe illness, there is a population most at risk for flu complications. Older people and young children are part of those high-risk groups. The CDC reported 26 pediatric deaths this flu season – a number that still paled in comparison to the high of 282 of children who died during the 2009-2010 season.
Health officials say while these new records show what happened in the past, they do not forecast future trends, so prevention is key. Health officials say consistency is also significant, making sure that you receive a flu vaccine each season and continue everyday task to ensure those viruses aren’t spread.