Sickness sidelines Dunbar High School marching band

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a trip of a lifetime, performing during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. But some members of the Dunbar High School marching band picked up an unwanted souvenir while in the Big Apple.

This comes as health department officials confirmed Lexington's first flu case of the season.

For the Dunbar High School band, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was an honor. But being sick before, during, and after wasn't what they wanted or expected.

"Everybody made it!" said Kathy Jaeger, the band booster president. "Everybody marched and made it the entire parade."

As the president of the Dunbar High School band booster, Kathy Jaeger traveled with the 186 band students to New York City since her son is a senior band student. 39 of those are middle school band students.

"Pretty much if one of them gets it, it's going to spread around to everyone else," said Jaeger.

Jaeger says she has the flu and was too sick to talk with us on camera. And she tells us nearly 100 band students and two band directors have the same problem with strep throat and flu-like symptoms.

"Sore throat, congestion, fever, just aches, and just generally feeling bad," said Jaeger.

So many were sick that they weren't able to perform in the Christmas Parade Tuesday night in Lexington which would've been their last performance of the year.

Dr. Robert Bratton with the Lexington Clinic says they've seen a lot of flu cases walk through their doors within the last three days. And he says that most of the cases have been Dunbar High School band students.

Dr. Bratton at the Lexington Clinic says he contributes the spread of sickness to the marching band's New York trip. Then they all traveled back to Lexington together, so now they're sick together.

"I don't think it's unusual that this would happen, but I think it's unfortunate that it did happen," said Dr. Robert Bratton. "But when you're dealing with the flu, it can be very contagious."

It is flu season, so the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department even sent out a letter to Dunbar High School parents, encouraging them to keep their sick kids at home. Doctors suggest everyone get a flu shot to avoid the illness altogether.

School officials say only 20 Dunbar High School students were out sick Wednesday but much more were out Tuesday.

State health leaders say there are now 25 confirmed flu cases statewide, and Kentucky's flu activity is now called regional.