Flu numbers rising

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The flu continues to hit Kentucky hard. More school systems closed on Tuesday as more counties reported confirmed cases.

The state says the outbreak of the the H1N1 virus is far from over. There have been 20 new cases in Fayette County alone.

With Southeastern states including Kentucky experiencing more swine flu than just about anywhere else in the country, Fayette County has by far the highest lab confirmed case count in Kentucky.

But the state epidemiologist, Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, says that doesn't necessarily mean we're any sicker here. "We are just at this point testing folks who are pregnant , hospitalized or those in institutions, and it could just be there's more of those particular categories coming from Fayette. We're seeing widespread flu across the state. Certainly in recent years, this is the most flu activity we've seen in September because we normally see very little to no flu at this time of year."

The school closings that have been announced so far have primarily been because it doesn't make sense economically to hold classes with so many students out sick. Dr. Humbaugh says, "It's true that many schools have dismissed for financial reasons. H1N1 seems to be very comparable to seasonal flu when it comes to severity, and schools don't normally close during seasonal flu outbreaks."

Most of the cases being treated now are H1N1, but with seasonal flu due to rear its ugly head in the not too distant future, are people about to face a double whammy, and will those weakened by swine flu be more vulnerable to the seasonal variety?

Dr. Humbaugh says, "We really don't know which type will end up predominating. That's why we're recommending vaccines for both kinds. Theoretically, it is possible to get both the seasonal flu and the other type during the same season unfortunately."

So wherever you live, follow the doctor's orders. Get a flu shot, cover your cough, wash your hands frequently and hope for the best.

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