Brazos County flu cases dramatically low compared to last flu season

From October to January there have been only 154 reported flu cases.
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 4:35 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -While positive COVID-19 cases remain high, local health experts say they are seeing some good news when it comes to flu cases.

From October 2020 to this month there have been only 154 reported flu cases in Brazos County. Last year, the number of flu cases reported was 1,794.

Caprock Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lon Young says vaccines and COVID-19 precautions are helping keep that number low.

“More people got the vaccine than usual so that has certainly been a factor,” said Young “The flu virus is similar, yet not identical to the coronavirus of course and so it also spread in very similar ways. The efforts that we’re all making to reduce the spread of coronavirus has the positive side effect of decreasing the spread of most respiratory viruses but in this case particularly the flu.”

The Brazos County Health District also keeps track of Influenza-like Illnesses (ILI). From October 2019 to January 2020 there were 1,065 ILI cases reported. This year there have been 807 ILI cases. These numbers do not include any COVID-19 cases.

The health district does not keep track of flu hospitalizations but Young says we can be certain if flu numbers were high, hospital occupancy would be even higher.

“That additional burden of flu we’ve been spared, and that is huge for us because if the flu begins to circulate as it does in a normal year or heaven forbid in a more severe flu year we would have an even more serious problem,” said Young.

Young says we’re not out of the woods just yet.

“Sometimes flu season doesn’t start until February or in very rare years March. It is possible to get the flu vaccine, it’s still widely available in the community, furthermore, you should get the vaccine,” said Young.

Young stressed the importance of continuing COVID-19 precautions like sanitizing, social distancing, and wearing masks to not only slow the spread of COVID-19 but also the flu.

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