FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2014
CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, (608)
Influenza Hospitalizations Increasing in Wisconsin
Young and Middle-Aged Adults Especially Affected
MADISON—Wisconsin has seen a recent dramatic increase in the number of
hospitalizations resulting from influenza, including admissions to
intensive care units (ICU), and an increase in the number of young and
middle-aged adult patients requiring mechanical ventilation. The
influenza virus causing most of these serious infections is the 2009
A/H1N1 virus, the same virus that caused the influenza pandemic during
2009. Once again, state health officials are strongly encouraging
Wisconsin residents to get vaccinated against the flu.
“For the best protection against the flu, you need to be vaccinated
annually,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer. “Getting vaccinated
during past years, or having the flu in the past, does not fully protect
against this year’s A/H1N1 strain. The good news is that the H1N1 strain
in this year’s vaccine is well matched against the 2009 A/H1N1 flu
strain and should be very effective.”
Influenza occurrence is approaching peak levels in Wisconsin, making
it especially important to get vaccinated now to prevent future cases,
McKeown noted. There have already been 565 influenza-associated
hospitalizations reported since October 5, with 22 percent admitted to
the ICU and 9 percent requiring mechanical ventilation. Notably, 75
percent of these hospitalizations have been reported since December 14.
Although deaths caused by influenza are reportable only among pediatric
patients, flu-associated fatalities among non-vaccinated young and
middle-aged adults have also been noted.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone
aged six months and older should be vaccinated annually against
influenza. To get flu shots for you and your family, contact your health
care provider, pharmacy, local public health department or tribal health
clinic, or go to www.flu.gov to find a flu vaccination center near you.
Health officials also recommend these important steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an
alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to
avoid touching your face with your hands. If you use a tissue, throw
it away after one use.
- Don’t share drinking cups and straws.
- Avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.
- Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs,
refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
- If you think you have the flu, stay home, get rest, drink plenty
of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Contact your doctor
about possible treatment for severe or persistent symptoms
For more information on influenza, visit
# # #
January 09, 2014