Flu hospitalizations nearly double in Wisconsin - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Flu hospitalizations nearly double in Wisconsin

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -

The number of flu cases in Wisconsin hospitals has almost doubled from last flu season.

Health officials said it's the worst outbreak since 2009, and the flu season is getting an early start.

"In the last couple of years, this is the soonest and most reported that we've had," said Dianne Rodd, Public Health Nurse at the Wood County Health Department.

According to the Wood County Health Department, Wisconsin saw 389 flu related hospitalizations last season.

This flu season, there have already been 760 influenza hospitalizations in the state.

"To have that many by the end of December is really a large outbreak," said Rodd.

Wood County Health officials say more strains of influenza mean people have more chances to get sick.

There are a lot of flu viruses going around, causing more people to get Rodd said.

Officials said an early start to the flu season does not mean it will end early. The best way to avoid getting sick is to get a flu shot, and according to Wood County Health officials, it's not too late to get one.

"We are encouraged to keep immunizing people all through any sort of increase in flu rate just because its' still our most effective means, our best tool at our disposal to prevent flu," said Rodd.

Health Department officials said the vaccine is most effective in those who are already healthy.

"It's not going to be 100 percent in everyone. Somebody who's elderly and has a chronic illness or maybe a small baby is not going to develop the same sort of immunity as a young, healthy adult," said Rodd.

Health officials say they hope everybody will take steps to stop this flu outbreak from getting any bigger.

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