Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2014

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Flu cases on rise in Nevada, health officials say

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year.

While there has been a national flu outbreak, there have only been 22 confirmed cases in Nevada so far, the state Health Division said Thursday.

But that is up 57 percent from two weeks ago and the number of cases is increasing, said the division. The confirmed cases are spread throughout the state.

State Health Officer Tracey Green said, "Right now, influenza A (H3N2) viruses are predominant." This virus is more severe with high numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, she said.

"But right now it's too early to say which influenza viruses will predominate this season or how severe the season will be," she said.

Martha Framsted, spokeswoman for the division, said the number of flu cases is underreported. Many Nevadans have influenza but don't go to a doctor or medical facility and decide to ride it out at home, she said.

Green urged residents to get their flu shots as quickly as possible because it takes two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. She said there is plenty of vaccine available.

"Getting vaccinated is the best protection. Another safety is regular hand-washing — but hand-washing can only do so much," Green said.

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