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With Peak Of Flu Season Nowhere In Sight, Health Officials Urge Vaccinating

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Oregon’s flu season has yet to hit the mid-way point. An uptick in influenza activity has health officials reminding “it’s not too late to vaccinate.”

Dr. Ann Thomas is a public health physician in the Oregon Health Authority. It’s her job to oversee Influenza surveillance around the state.

“It’s taking off a little bit earlier here than other years,” says Thomas. “And right now we’re at like the highest percentage for emergency department visits that look like flu (than in the past couple years.)”

Dr. Thomas says this leads health officials to question exactly when Oregon will hit peak flu season. She notes the majority of cases this year are Flu Type B, which is unusual.

However, Thomas says the influenza vaccination is well suited to protect against the virus.

“You know once you get a flu shot it takes effect in about two weeks,” Thomas says, “and I would guess we’re gonna have flu circulating for certainly six to eight weeks more.”

Thomas says there is good supply of the vaccine still available. 

According to Dr. Thomas, there has been one pediatric death from flu in Oregon. 

More information for how Oregon Health Authority tracks Influenza:

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/COMMUNICABLEDISEASE/DISEASESURVEILLANCEDATA/INFLUENZA/Pages/index.aspx

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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