Erlanger is reporting a higher rate of influenza-like illness (ILI) cases just three weeks into the flu season.

A spokesperson for the hospital says 112 cases have been reported to the Hamilton County Health Department compared to the 37 cases reported during the same time period in 2018.

“Based on the number of reportable cases at this point in the flu season, we continue to stress the importance of area residents getting vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Steven Cooper, Medical Director of Erlanger’s Community Health Centers. 

According to the CDC, most of the United States is currently experiencing minimal ILI activity. Flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

The CDC recommends everyone six months or older to get a flu vaccine by the end of October.

Dr. Steve Cooper, Medical Director of Erlanger Community Health Centers, says seeing so many flu-like illnesses so early is alarming, but not unusual. 

"Vaccines which typically we begin early in October haven't had time to take effect. They take two weeks to usually generate immunity after a vaccine so people are still vulnerable and getting exposed," he said. 

Dr. Cooper says it's not clear what kind of flu strands are circulating among other illnesses. He says it's also not clear if this year's batch of vaccines match that strand. 

"The flu vaccine are typically quadrivalent covering four strands two A's and two B's or they're trivalent which cover a variety of either three strands of the A and B." 

Regardless, he says getting vaccinated will help protect yourself. 

"If you're vaccinated, the flu may not take a foothold in you and therefore you may not be able to transport it to your sick grandmother or your toddler so that's important to get that vaccine early so you are a barrier to transmitting flu to a susceptible person," said Dr. Cooper. 

 

Flu Surveillance Report from CDC, updated as of October 19, 2019.

Stay with WRCB for updates on this year’s flu season.