Numbers from a recent influenza report paint a picture of just how dangerous and deadly the flu is according to local health officials. Statistics released from the Washoe County Health District 2016-17 Influenza Surveillance Report show that out of 2,408 laboratory confirmed influenza cases in Washoe County last flu season, 312 (13%) were hospitalized for more than 24 hours and eight cases died.
Another statistic of concern is that six of the eight cases who died from influenza (75%) were unimmunized and three of five pregnant cases (60%) that were hospitalized were unimmunized.
“These statistics reenforce what the CDC and public health experts have been saying for years,” said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “Getting a flu shot is the best prevention for catching the flu.” The CDC ranked Nevada as the lowest state in the country for influenza vaccinations with only one in three people getting flu shots. “Our rates for flu shots are under 34 percent which means that two out of every three people are unprotected and pose an increased risk of transmitting the disease to you,” Dick said.
There are several easy ways to get an influenza vaccination. To find locations where you can get a flu shot near you, visit www.influencenevada.org. Most pharmacies (even in grocery stores) offer vaccine and will accept insurance cards. Flu vaccines are required to be covered by your health insurance without charging a copayment or coinsurance. The Health District recommends that people take advantage of this service as soon as possible.