Flu continues to spread throughout our area

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Several area doctors say they're extremely busy right now, in large part due to the number of flu cases they're seeing.

"Probably more than I've seen in the last 10 or 15 years," says Dr. Grover Dils with The Medical Center Scottsville Rural Health Clinic.

"We've had a lot more cases than we normally see this time of the year and the people that get sick with it seem to be sicker," he adds.

According to the Barren River District Health Department in Bowling Green, the state's report for the last week of December 2017 saw Kentucky with a "widespread" outbreak of the flu for the third consecutive week.

Looking further at the report, it shows 12 flu-related deaths for Kentucky in 2017, compared to three the year before.

"Even some hospital employees who have gotten the flu vaccine have been able to contract it. It just seems to be in an extremely aggressive form," adds Dr. Dils.

Still, doctors and health professionals encourage you to get the vaccine.

Dr. Dils says, "The vaccine does reduce the intensity of the flu and the symptoms and the duration."

According to Graves Gilbert Clinic, between all of its clinic locations, November 2017 saw 69 positive flu cases, followed by 1,331 positive flu cases in December. As of January 3 of this new year, health officials say Graves Gilbert Clinic confirmed 184 positive flu cases.

Health officials say if that trend continues for the rest of the month, that will equal more than 2,000 positive cases for January. Keep in mind, these numbers are just for Graves Gilbert Clinic locations.

These numbers also don't include any false negatives.

"I also do some emergency room work and I'll see just families come in with just everybody infected and sick," adds Dr. Dils.

He says he's mostly seeing Influenza type A, but some people are coming back with more symptoms and also testing positive for type B.

Doctors say the flu started early this year, and they can't predict when the outbreak will end.

Local schools say they're also monitoring the flu.

13 News spoke with Warren County, Allen County, and Bowling Green City Schools to see how the flu was impacting attendance.

District officials say they're monitoring attendance per usual, and have seen a decline, but still, Warren County reported every school with above 90% attendance as of Tuesday.

Allen County says Tuesday's student attendance dropped to 88.8%.

Bowling Green City Schools didn't have the percentages available when we called but said on Monday, McNeill Elementary had more than 50 students out.

Those records don't reflect if it's the flu keeping kids out of school or not, but officials do say sickness does impact attendance this time of year, and they'll continue to monitor it to see if there's ever a need to close. They say a big issue right now is that several teachers are getting sick, so substitutes are having to be called in.

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