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Flu cases not as widespread but still prevalent

Missouri’s flu cases through Saturday are more than double all of the cases in the 2002-03 season.
Thursday, January 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:57 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

KANSAS CITY — Health departments in Missouri and Kansas continue to record confirmed cases of the flu, though many hospital emergency rooms say the pace has slowed.

On Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment downgraded the state’s flu status from widespread to regional, according to spokeswoman Sharon Watson.

The department had classified the flu situation as widespread on Monday, but additional information from reports around the state indicated decreased activity in several regions, including Kansas City.

“It’s still too early to say if we’re starting to see a decline in cases,” Watson said. “It’s too early to say that the peak has come and gone.”

Influenza is not a reportable disease in Kansas, which means the state does not record the actual number of cases.

But the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported Tuesday that influenza continued to be widespread in the state. Spokeswoman Sue Denny said Missouri had 9,385 confirmed flu cases through Dec. 27, up from 7,355 on Dec. 23. This compares with a total of 4,318 cases during the entire 2002-03 flu season.

The updated number of deaths related to the flu and pneumonia in Missouri was unavailable, Denny said. The total stood at 731 through Dec. 13, with three pediatric deaths. No additional pediatric deaths had been reported in the past week.

The actual number of confirmed flu cases might be higher than reported, as county health departments had fallen behind on reporting to the state department, Denny said.

“It would be great to think that we’re past the worst of it, but it’s still early enough in the season that it could come back again,” she said.

The number of confirmed flu cases in Jackson County rose to 991 through noon Monday, up by 90 from Dec. 22. The previous week’s increase was 211 cases.

The number of cases reported in Platte County also was up, officials said, while reported cases in Clay County were holding steady, said Jack Carpenter, acting director of the Clay County Health Department.

“It’s encouraging that it’s not picking up,” Carpenter said.


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