Worst of flu season may be over

Thursday, March 20, 2008 | 5:51 p.m. CDT; updated 11:13 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Flu numbers declined sharply last week both across Missouri and in Boone County.

The Columbia/Boone County Health Department reported a total of 58 flu cases for last week, ending March 15.

Deidre Wood of the county Health Department said that cases in the county decreased significantly — by around 50 percent — from the week before last. While Wood said it is possible that the worst of flu season is over, she also said the flu could persist until May and did not rule out the possibility of another increase.

There were 902 documented flu cases in Boone County from Oct. 1, when flu season began, through March 15.

Missouri cases totalled 26,124 last week, an increase of only about 1,800 from the previous week. Although cases are still occurring, the 1,800 reflect an overall decline in new cases at the state level as well.

Brian Quinn, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said that even though numbers statewide appear to be declining, multiple spikes in influenza cases have occurred in years past.

“People shouldn’t let down their guard just because we see what we hope is the end of flu season,” Quinn said.

The state Health Department is still encouraging Missouri residents to take basic preventative health measures of frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home from work and school when sick.

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