Influenza activity high but not widespread
Influenza activity in Kansas remains relatively low in comparison to what other states are seeing.
While influenza activity is listed as “high” in Kansas, its geographic spread in the state is listed as “regional” — meaning that the high activity is not widespread across the entire state. It is one of only five states not listed with widespread activity geographically.
This information comes from the Centers for Disease Control’s most recent report, which is for the week from Dec. 22, 2019, through Dec. 28, 2019. This report tracks the spread of influenza-like illness (ILI) activity. KDHE defines ILI activity as a fever higher than 100 degrees and the presence of a cough and/or sore throat.
Influenza levels in Kansas for the most recently reported week are above those reported last year at this time. They are spiking at a similar rate and time as the 2017-18 influenza season — which spiked in mid-December to early January.
The main strain circulating in Kansas appears to be A/H1N1, according to the site reporting to monitor which strains of influenza are circulating in the state. The other strain circulating in Kansas, though much less prevalent, B/Victoria. Nationally, according to the CDC, the B/Victoria virus is the most prevalent.
Flu symptoms, which often start suddenly rather than gradually, include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. Complications can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections and dehydration. Influenza may also worsen other chronic conditions.
Anyone with a fever for more than 24 to 48 hours — especially with considerations due to age, severity of other symptoms or other medical problems — should contact a healthcare professional.
According to KDHE, common practices people should take to avoid getting or spreading influenza include covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze, washing your hands and staying home when you are sick.
The influenza vaccine is also strongly recommended for nearly all persons six months of age or older. Infants less than six months of age are too young to be vaccinated and are more vulnerable to the complications from influenza.
Being vaccinated against influenza is especially important for anyone at high risk of complications, and for anyone who is caring for children younger than 5 years of age. It is also important for persons caring for those with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications.