Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
The State of Texas now says influenza is widespread and there has been a spike in flu cases with nearly all of the new cases being the H1N1 strain.
Dallas County reports a significant increase in the number of flu cases last week.
Dallas County Health and Human Services prelim 49 percent increase in the number of flu cases for the week ending Dec. 14, with 44 people spending time in the hospital because of the flu.
In all, 258 people tested positive for the flu, up from 173 the week before.
Nearly all of the cases are H1N1, which lead to a nationwide pandemic in 2009 and caused thousands of deaths across the country.
“We’re seeing an increase in H1N1 flu cases”, says Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services. “So what we are encouraging Dallas County residents to do is to come in and get their flu shots while they’re available."
The Texas Department of State Health Services reports there is now a high level of flu-like illness across Texas, and the flu virus is now widespread, with all regions now reporting positive flu tests.
“With this H1N1 strain, I would encourage them to come in and get the flu shot now” says Thompson.
Doctors and pharmacies are beginning to see more people showing up for flu shots, along with many others who didn’t get a flu shot and are now coming down with the virus, starting a run on Tamiflu to treat it.
“It seems to be just starting”, says Wayne Mcmeans with Dougherty’s Pharmacy. “As a matter of fact, we’re trying to locate stockpiles now. As you can imagine it dries up pretty quick”.
The Dallas County Health Department has fewer than 3,000 flu shots left and is looking to order another 2,000 to help get through the season.
“H1N1 is covered in that vaccine, so it gives that protective factor to our residents” says Thompson.