Department sees increase in influenza type B cases
Mega Doctor News
El Paso, Texas – New data compiled by the City of El Paso Department of Public Health indicates that this year’s flu season is far from over. According to the latest statistics, the El Paso area saw a second spike of flu cases during the last week of January. During that time the number of influenza type A cases remained steady with approximately 400 hundred new cases. However, the number of influenza type B cases nearly quadrupled from the week before with more than 150 new cases.
“There are nearly as many flu cases in week five as there were two weeks prior,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. “This is a good example of how two different strains of the flu virus can exist at the same time and thereby increase the population being affected. Prevention is all the more important at this time,” he said.
As of week five the total number of flu cases stands at 2,815, with 89% of the cases identified as influenza type A. There have been no new flu-related deaths reported in the El Paso area during the past week. The total number of flu related deaths for our area remains at 13.
It is not too late to receive the flu vaccine. The Department’s Immunization Program has limited quantities of the flu vaccine for both adults and children. Flu vaccines are available for children ages six months to 18-years-old who do not have health insurance and who meet eligibility requirements. The cost is $10.00. Adult flu vaccines are provided for $35.00. Clients are urged to contact the clinic of their choice to verify availability of both the children’s and adult vaccines prior to their visit. Residents may also consult with their primary care provider or a local retail outlet of their choice in order to obtain the adult vaccine. You may also call the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Center to help find a location near you where the vaccine is available.
In addition, Department officials are asking residents to practice the “4 C’s”. These recommendations have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of the flu virus.
1. CLEAN-Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
2. COVER-Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t have a tissue? The crook of your elbow will do.
3. CONTAIN-Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay home until you’re well again, so you don’t spread more germs.
4. CALL-Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever of greater than 100 degrees.
For more information on preventing the flu visit: www.EPHealth.com and click on the flu prevention page. In addition, agencies or organizations interested in a Speakers Bureau presentation may click on the Special Projects tab and request a presentation on flu prevention.
The mission of the El Paso Department of Public Health is to work in partnership with people in our community to promote and protect the health of the borderland. For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or call 2-1-1.