Flu activity still on the rise in Florida

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
January 25, 2018

Photo: Pixabay

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Florida Department of Health says in its weekly flu report that influenza activity in the state is high and continues to increase.

Officials say the panhandle region continued to experience the largest increases in flu activity, which prompted school officials in Gulf County to cancel classes on Friday.

Heath officials have also confirmed that a child with underlying health conditions has died from complications from the flu. This marks the third flu-related child death in Florida so far in the 2017-2018 flu season. The report says all three of the children were unvaccinated.

More outbreaks have been reported than in previous seasons, health officials add. One of the outbreaks occurred in Suwannee County, where a daycare reported 25 individuals with an influenza-like illness. Officials say samples taken from seven individuals tested positive for the influenza virus.

With flu season in full swing, WCTV is also hearing reports of local shortages of medication used to treat influenza.

A Walgreens spokesperson said in a statement:

"Due to the recent spike in flu activity in the Tallahassee area, we are experiencing greater demand for antiviral medications used to treat influenza. While we are taking additional measures in an effort to help meet patient demand at this time, some of our pharmacies in the area may not have all versions or strengths of Tamiflu available. We are expecting additional inventory at our pharmacies within the coming days, and in the meantime recommend customers call ahead to confirm availability (of Tamiflu)."

Health officials say, based on the data so far this flu season, increases in influenza deaths are expected in the coming weeks.

The Department of Health in Leon County is urging anyone who has not yet received a flu vaccination to do so now, adding, "There are still weeks of flu activity to come. It is not too late to get your flu vaccination. The flu vaccine is safe and recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women."

For more information on influenza, visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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