Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan urged area residents Monday to get their influenza vaccine if they have not already.
The flu season isn't over.
So far in 2018 and 2019, the influenza strain seen most commonly is the H1N1. But in recent weeks, the state has reported an uptick in another variety, the H3N2 strain, McMahan said.
It was that strain that made last year's influenza season long, and deadly, throughout Indiana. Allen County saw 32 influenza-related deaths in the 2017-2018 season, according to the Indiana Department of Health.
Cases at Parkview hospitals jumped from about 10 to 15 daily to 45 daily in recent weeks, and officials pinpoint the rise in part to the failure of adults in the U.S. to get the vaccine.
Dr. Scott Stienecker, medical director for epidemiology and infection prevention for Parkview Health, joined Dr. McMahan at a press conference Monday to urge more to get vaccinated, according to a press release. The vaccine may not prevent the flu completely, but it can lessen the impact and severity ofsymptoms, Dr. Stienecker said in the release. And the more people who are vaccinated also increases herd immunity, which helps curb the virus’ spread. According to the Allen County Department of Health, the H3N2 virus can be dangerous to those over 70 with cardiac-related illness and cardiac obstructive pulmonary disease. The annual flu season begins in the fall, and continues through the winter, but activity can continue until May, according to the release.