Wyoming is reporting the highest rate of influenza since the swine flu epidemicin 2009. Clay Van Houten with the Wyoming Department of Health says numbers are three times as high as last year.
“A couple weeks ago we had a little over 450 cases reported,” says Van Houten, “that’s definitely more than any week we’ve had reported since 2009.”
Van Houten says this year’s flu season started much earlier than usual — in September rather than January. As a result, he says many people didn’t have a chance to get vaccinated before the virus started circulating. Plus, as is often the case, several new flu strains surfaced this year.
But Van Houten says it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine.
“It does take about two weeks for a person to develop immunity to flu following a vaccination,” he says, “So, it’s not immediate, but certainly getting a flu vaccination is always a good idea even late in the season.”
Van Houten suggests taking preventative measures to avoid further spread of the virus, like hand-washing and staying home from school or work if you’re ill.