IDPH official: Iowa faces the worst flu season in years


January 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A top Iowa health official calls this the worst flu season the state has seen in many years. State Epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk noted Friday that influenza will likely keep going around until April. She says vaccines are still available, but people may have to call more than one location to find where shots are available.

Complete statewide figures on the number of flu cases are not available. The state gets data from 21 of Iowa’s 118 hospitals. At those hospitals, there were 141 hospitalizations due to influenza in the first week of January. Quinlisk says there were never more than 20 hospitalizations during that same week in the past few years. Flu deaths are not immediately reported to the Iowa health department, so a tally isn’t now available.