Kentucky flu season death toll reaches 100; still on rise

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky flu deaths have now reached more than 100 this season according to the latest numbers from the Department for Public Health.

102 Kentuckians have now died this season as a result of influenza. Four of those flu victims were under 18 years old. There have been 5,264 lab-confirmed cases.

12 out of 17 regions experienced increased influenza activity in the past week, as there were 660 new lab-confirmed cases. 20 died this week from the flu. The total number of cases decreased from week-to-week for the second week in a row. So far, the peak was from Jan. 14-20 where there were 1156 new cases and 21 deaths, but some are anticipating numbers to spike again even though there is a downward trend.

"We probably haven't seen the peak yet," says Kevin Hall with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. We actually hesitate right now to say February is the peak flu season because these cases are flowing in. We're seeing about 70 new cases in Lexington reported and confirmed each week. It's not slowing down.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has reported 513 cases and 11 deaths this flu season. Local emergency room physician Ryan Stanton said that although the statistics are alarming, the worst has passed.

"We had about 530 cases total last year. We're already at 513 confirmed. It's only the second week of February," says Hall.

"We're transitioning from flu-A dominant in January, to flu-B dominant more now at this time, and that is actually better for those that have the vaccine because B is actually better covered with the vaccine," Dr. Ryan Stanton, emergency room physician, said.

To combat the increase in flu-B, the health department will offer free flu shots Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in its Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike. Health officials say the vaccine is normally $30.

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