Flu cases are decreasing across Kentucky

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, January 18, 2023

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This is the heart of the influenza season in Kentucky, but after seeing an early spike in the 2022-2023 season, there has been a decrease in cases over the past month, according to the latest report.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health says during the period January 1-7, 2023, the most recent report available, there were 967 new confirmed flu cases, bringing the seasonal total to 38,792.

Following a peak of 7,192 cases the week of November 27-December 3, the numbers have been declining every week since then. Kentucky has also seen the current influenza activity level, which had reached “Widespread,” the highest level, during the period ending Dec. 3, drop to “Regional.”  That is one step down on the scale, which goes from no activity to sporadic, local, regional, and widespread.

According to public health officials, the “Regional” flu activity level is indicative of outbreaks of influenza or increases in Influenza-like illness and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least two, but less than half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in those regions.

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The Kentucky Department for Public Health is reporting that the age category with the most confirmed flu cases during the 2022-2023 flu season involves children ages 1-10, with nearly 12,000 in that age group alone.

Of the total flu deaths so far this season, 116 were those 18 years of age or older.  Eight deaths have been confirmed in those under 18, which is the highest seasonal total ever.  The previous record was six, which was set during the 2019-2020 flu season.

Although most flu cases result in mild illness, serious symptoms such as difficulty or fast breathing, seizures, bluish lips or face, high fever (above 104 degrees), fever or cough that improves but then comes back or gets worse, dehydration (e.g., no urine for eight hours, dry mouth, no tears), or worsening of other medical conditions, require immediate medical attention.  Antiviral treatment of influenza is also recommended to reduce the severity of the illness.