FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is reporting 100 flu-related deaths from the flu epidemic in Kentucky.
At least four of those deaths have been pediatric cases. This season’s H3N2 strain of the flu virus can be extremely serious, even deadly, not just for those in higher risk categories but to generally healthy Kentucky residents too.
The flu has been widespread for the past seven weeks in Kentucky. The flu season runs through late May. During the 2016-17 flu season, Kentucky recorded 76 deaths.
“Tragically, the influenza virus has claimed the lives of 100 Kentuckians so far this season,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard, Acting Department for Public Health Commissioner. “During this time of widespread flu activity, we want to remind people to avoid contact with others if you have influenza or an influenza-like illness. If you are sick, seek care from your healthcare provider early. Lastly, take appropriate measures to protect yourself such as washing your hands with soap and water.”
The most common flu type identified in Kentucky at this time is influenza A.
“Pneumonia, bacterial bloodstream infections, and sepsis are examples of serious influenza-related complications that may require hospitalization and sometimes result in death of healthy people with no known risk factors for serious illness,” added Department for Public Health’s State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jonathan Ballard. “Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu. We especially recommend that all healthy Kentuckians aged six months and older be vaccinated. The flu season typically runs until late spring so it is not too late to get vaccinated.”