Flu is Now Widespread in Texas

For the first time in the 2018-2019 flu season, the flu virus is considered widespread in Texas.

Children’s Medical Center Dallas reported 253 positive flu cases in last week’s monitoring period, which ended Saturday. That’s up from 163 cases from the previous week. It marks an increase of 90 cases in a week.

School Officials in Coppell said one school had to undergo deep cleaning after more than 300 students missed classes Monday and Tuesday. Coppell Middle School West reported 235 students absent to the state Monday, but at least 115 more left school early with the flu or flu-like symptoms. Tuesday, the middle school reported 325 students absent.

Dr. James Pinckney said this is the time of year flu cases usually rise.

Prosecutors unveiled the full statement in court on Thursday against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who is accused of fabricating a racist and homophobic attack against himself in a bid for publicity.

(Published Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019)

“The typical peak of the influenza virus is around late January, early February,” explained Dr. Pinckney. “Last year was atypical. We had an outbreak a little earlier in November or December, so it seems like we’re late this year but we’re actually right on time.”

He said he still urges patients to get a flu shot and that it’s not too late for it to be effective this flu season.

“You are five times less likely to die from the flu if you are vaccinated,” Pinckney said.

Coppell Middle School West has sent letters home to families, urging parents to keep sick students home until they are fever-free for 24 hours, without the help of fever suppressing medicine like Tylenol.