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Latest Department for Public health report shows flu cases continue to decline across Kentucky

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

This is normally the heart of the influenza season in Kentucky, but after seeing an early spike in the 2022-2023 season, there has been a consistent decrease in cases since the week following Thanksgiving, according to the latest report.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) says during the period January 8-14, 2023, which is the most recent report available, there were 633 new confirmed cases of the flu, bringing the seasonal total to 39,425. Last week the number was 967. This compares to the period November 27 through December 3, when there were 7,192 new cases, and the Influenza Activity Level was considered “Widespread,” the highest level on the five-step scale.

(Kentucky Department for Public Health graphic; Click for larger image)

This January 8-14 report places Kentucky in the “Regional” Influenza Activity Level, which is one step down from widespread.

According to public health officials, the “Regional” flu activity level is indicative of outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illness and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least two, but less than half, of the regions of the state, with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in those regions.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is reporting that the age category with the most confirmed flu cases during the 2022-2023 flu season involves children ages 1-10, with nearly 12,000 in that age group alone.

Of the 130 total flu deaths so far this season, 122 were those 18 years of age or older. Eight deaths have been confirmed in those under 18, which is the highest seasonal total ever. The previous record was six, which was set during the 2019-2020 flu season.

Although most flu cases result in mild illness, serious symptoms such as difficulty or fast breathing, seizures, bluish lips or face, high fever (above 104 degrees), fever or cough that improves then come back or gets worse, dehydration (e.g., no urine for eight hours, dry mouth, no tears) or worsening of other medical conditions require immediate medical attention. Antiviral treatment of influenza is also recommended to reduce the severity of the illness.

The season’s weekly flu reports are available online at www.chfs.ky.gov.

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