Iowa, nation seeing more flu reports

'Regional' activity reported in Iowa; officials say cases could start increasing more rapidly

April 1, 2014 | 2:55 am

Reports of the flu are on the rise in Iowa and the rest of the country.

State epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said Iowa has upgraded its weekly flu activity level from “local” to “regional.”

A local designation means outbreaks of influenza and lab-confirmed flu have been reported in a single region of the state, while regional means the outbreaks have spread in at least two regions, but less than half of the state.

The reports are for the week ending Nov. 24, the most recent update for the state’s influenza activity level.

During the same time period, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported influenza activity increased nationwide.

Seven states reported regional activity; 19 reported local activity and the remainder reported sporadic or no activity.

Quinlisk said all three of the strains covered in this year’s flu vaccine have been reported in Iowa.

“It’s going to start taking off,” she said of the number of cases. “It’s a good time to get your flu shot if you haven’t already.”

Last week, Quinlisk said a Cedar County child was diagnosed with a "variant" flu virus that differs from the seasonal flu strains. The child has since recovered.

Symptoms of the flu include fever and respiratory difficulties, such as cough and runny nose, and sometimes other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Frequent hand washing and staying home when ill can help prevent spread of the flu, Quinlisk noted.

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