Kentucky categorized as 'widespread' level for influenza reports this year

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Flu season is underway and the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting numbers this year are higher than last.

13 News spoke with the Barren River District Health Department for an in-depth look at these numbers and what they mean.

"14 of our 17 regions are experiencing influenza activity," said Sharon Ray, Communicable Disease Nurse with Barren River District Health Department.

The CDC provided local health departments with a health advisory Wednesday.

"They are recommending the use of antivirals when treating influenza this season," explained Ray. "That can decrease the severity of the illness and decrease the time that a person is infectious."

Antivirals should be used when treating the flu and as soon as possible at that.

"The use of antivirals should not be delayed while awaiting test results," said Ray.

As of the most recent report from last week, 14 of the state's 17 regions are experiencing flu activity which categorizes Kentucky 'widespread.'

"Widespread can be based on influenza type illness or confirmed laboratory confirmed influenza. It's a combination of all of those ways reporting to come up with the activity level."

"Reporting comes in various ways and not all of the reporting is reflective by confirmed cases some of it is reflective by rapid type testing, which is done a lot of times in physician's office. It will identify if it's an A or a B type but won't break it down further than that."

The same report from this time last year shows Kentucky as 'local activity,' meaning outbreaks of flu or increases in cases of lab reports in a single region of a state.

So far, there have been 305 total of flu virus types in Kentucky.

"The majority of those are type A, and they were not identified as which specific strain, but they were the A strain and then of that a strain we are seeing more of the H3N2."​

It's recommended that everyone get vaccinated, and can still do so. In addition, it is highly recommended for children and elderly.

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