For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021
Reno, Nev. Dec. 20, 2019 – Washoe County has been experiencing influenza-like-illness (ILI) above the regional and national baselines since early November, and the Washoe County Health District is urging residents to get a flu shot.
As of Dec. 19, three influenza-associated deaths have been reported among Washoe County residents. These three deaths occurred among people less than 40 years of age. Two of the cases are still under investigation but all three had experienced influenza-associated complications. Ninety six people have been hospitalized due to the flu.
“We cannot overstate the importance of the flu shot,” said Kevin Dick, Washoe County Health District Officer. “If you find yourself feeling feverish or experiencing chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches or fatigue, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.”
This year’s 2019-2020 flu season has been unique in that there have been higher than usual reports of ILI much earlier in the season than the previous four seasons. This season’s predominant strain has been Influenza B/Victoria, unlike most influenza seasons that experience higher activity due to Influenza A.
Seasonal influenza in the United States has been elevated for five weeks and continues to increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates so far this season there have been at least 2.6 million flu illnesses and 1,300 deaths.
With the holiday season upon us, the Washoe County Health District strongly urges you and your family to get your flu shot, as it is not too late. Check with your healthcare provider, Immunize Nevada, local pharmacies or the Washoe County Health District, as these locations provide flu vaccinations.
While the flu shot cannot be guaranteed to keep you from getting the flu, those who do get a flu shot typically experience less severe symptoms if they do get the flu and are more likely to recover faster than if they had not received immunization for flu.
There is antiviral medication available that may help reduce the severity and the duration of the illness - the sooner you can take these antivirals the better. In addition, if you are feeling ill, please do not prepare food for your holiday gatherings and try to limit your direct contact with persons at high risk for complications.
Persons considered to be at a higher risk include children under the age of 5, adults over 50, pregnant women and anyone with a chronic health condition. Healthy people can experience severe complications as well. People are also advised to stay home from work if sick, cough into your sleeve and wash your hands with warm water and soap frequently.
The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.