CDC: Michigan has widespread flu activity

9:18 AM, Jan 24, 2014   |    comments
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(WZZM) - The Centers for Disease Control now says we're in the middle of a flu epidemic and Michigan has joined the majority of the country with widespread outbreaks of the virus.

Michigan was added to the list of states with widespread flu last week. All but ten states are in that category according to the CDC.

Click here to check out the CDC's guide to the flu.

There is some good news, some states with widespread activity are seeing declines in infection.

Here in West Michigan, flu activity remains relatively stable.

The Kent County Health Department has reported 522 confirmed cases of the flu and three deaths related to the virus.

Two of the victims had underlying conditions and this week we learned the third did not.

All three tested positive for the H1N1 virus, which is the prevalent strain this season.

"There may be some people out there without immunity to the virus so that's likely the reason why more people are becoming ill with this strain of influenza," said Brian Hartl with the Kent County Health Department.

The H1-N1 virus is more severe in children, young adults and pregnant women. The good news is the virus hasn't mutated since it first appeared in 2009 and the flu vaccine this year includes protection from that strain.

Doctors say the best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get that vaccine.

Click here to find a location near you that offers flu shots.

You can minimize your risk by disinfecting your home and focusing on a few specific areas:
1) Your bathroom taps, which have more germs than your toilet seat.
2) Your kitchen sink contains 100-thousand times more germs than a bathroom.
3) Make sure to clean your T-V remote as well as your light switches because they are some of the most frequently touched surfaces in your home.

The flu virus can survive and infect someone anywhere between two and eight hours after it is left on that surface.

And if you get the flu, you can infect someone from the day before you get sick to up to seven days after the symptoms first develop which is what makes it so contagious.

Click here to learn more about the flu.






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