The Texas Department of State Health Services released their most recent Influenza Surveillance Report indicating a rise in flu cases across Texas. The report indicated El Paso County has begun to encounter it's first of cases of flu.
Texas is currently the only state to be categorized as showing "local activity". Each of the other continental U.S. states report little to no flu activity so far. The Centers for Disease Control characterize "Local Activity" as outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illness cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region of the state.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, each of the eleven health service regions across the state have reported flu activity, including region 9/10, which includes Far West Texas. Furthermore, reporting of influenza-like illnesses in the El Paso area rose statewide over the past week.
"Now that flu activity has been reported in El Paso County, it is pertinent that all high risk patients as well as anybody else who would like to be immunized against the flu get protected soon." said Dusty Warden, Outreach Coordinator for Immunize El Paso.
Earlier this week, Immunize El Paso was given an opportunity to obtain additional doses of vaccine beyond what they normally use each year. They will be extending their vaccination campaign beyond November 4th, which was their anticipated close of their flu vaccination campaign.
"Given the popularity of the low-cost children's FluMist campaign and the availability of vaccine this year, we will be making an extra effort to ensure that everyone who wants to get vaccinated this season will have more opportunities to do so" said Warden.
Every year in the United States, on average 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and nearly 36,000 people die.
Influenza vaccinations have been and will continue to be available to anybody who wishes to protect themselves against the potentially fatal flu virus this season. The cost of the flu vaccine is $25 for adults and $10 for children. Medicare, Children's Medicaid, CHIP and some private insurances will be accepted. Vaccinations will be administered daily Tillman Clinic located at 222 S. Campbell, from 9-5 and at the Eastside Immunization Clinic, 1580 George Dieter from 8-5. For more information call 915-533-3414 or visit immunizeelpaso.org.
Source: Immunize El Paso.