Flu cases on the rise in Monroe County

Updated: 01/09/2014 12:18 AM
Created: 01/08/2014 9:09 AM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion

Few things are worse than having the flu, and if you've been feeling really sick lately, you're not alone.

Local hospitals throughout Monroe County have been packed with patients for the last three weeks.

Even though only 90 flu cases have been reported to the Health Department, officials say those numbers are deceiving. Cases are actually on the rise in our area.

The reason why the Health Department says the numbers are deceiving is because, truth is, a lot of people don't go to the doctor, and many doctors don't test for the flu because symptoms are present.

They say the bottom line is the flu is ticking up in our area.

There's no denying the flu is here and doctors say it's right on time.

“Flu cases start to go up when children go back to school from the Christmas holidays,” said John Treanor, University of Rochester Medical Center Chief of Infectious Disease.

“About December 19 is when flu actually went widespread. That's when we've seen a big uptick in the emergency department,” said Dustin Riccio.

Riccio is the chair of the emergency room at Unity Health System.

“We see a large amount of flu patients here. We've got beds ready for everybody. While there is a huge volume coming in, we are ready for it,” said Riccio.

University of Rochester Medical Center Chief of Infectious Disease Jon Treanor said this year the flu is attacking a certain age group.

“As we expect with that particular strain of flu, a lot of the disease is occurring in relatively young people, adolescents and young adults,” said Treanor.

The H1N1 strand has dominated this season. Treanor said it's difficult to understand why.

“Understanding what it is that gives one person a relatively mild case and another person a very severe illness is one of those things that scientists have been working on for a long time,” Treanor said.

Monroe County is not alone. Cases have been reported throughout New York and in 24 other states. Even though we are seeing the flu season at its peak right now, doctors say it can continue to get worse for the next few months.

“So that's why we have to maintain surveillance and keep our eyes open because it's really hard to know what actually is going to happen,” said Treanor.

This is something that has become very dangerous. There are areas in Texas that have seen nearly 20 deaths, and that's something we certainly do not want to happen here.

Experts say it is still not too late to get your flu shot. They say it offers the best protection from the virus and may weaken symptoms if you still get sick. The Health Department say they have a small supply left, but your best bet is going to a local pharmacy to get your flu shot.

Click here to find a flu clinic in your area

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