Flu cases still high in region

Flu cases still high in region

POSTED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 11:33am

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 11:44am

Flu season arrived early this year and resulted in about five deaths in Gregg County to date, officials said Monday.

“I can tell you that influenza activity is still high in Texas and our region,” said Dr. Paul McGaha, director of the 35-county Region 4/5 for the Texas Department of Health. “This year, we started earlier with the infection, and more people have been seriously ill than last year.”

The state health department analyzes information sent voluntarily by hospitals and other partners to determine whether outbreaks are minimal, low, moderate or widespread.

“We’re in the top tier right now,” McGaha said. “Influenza activity is widespread in Texas.”

Gregg County Justice of the Peace B.H. Jameson, who is notified when a local flu death occurs, said the county has felt the impact of this flu season.

“I understand there’s approximately five flu deaths in Gregg County,” Jameson said. “All of them were white males ages 20 to 40, no flu shot, healthy.”

“I believe that this is the worst flu season that I have seen since I started practicing in Longview 15 years ago,” Dr. Anita Scribner, who specializes in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Longview Regional, wrote in an email to the newspaper.

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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