Shelby Co. Health officials urge residents to get their flu shots or nasal mist


January 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s number of flu cases is now considered widespread, and officials say the seasonal outbreak could get even worse now that children are back in school. Shelby County Public Health nurse Rachel Birks said that there have been many cases of flu seen by Myrtue Medical Center providers in December and so far in January.  There have been at least two cases that needed hospitalization—a small child and an elderly person.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) says at least 151 people were hospitalized state-wide for flu complications in Iowa during the last week of December.  IDPH Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk said that she doubts the surge of illnesses will slow down soon. Dr. Quinlisk has said “We have “all the hallmarks of a relatively bad and prolonged flu season.”   .

Experts say the viruses are affecting more people than usual across much of the nation.  Government health experts say 18 children have died from complications of the flu, and 2,257 people were hospitalized with flu symptoms through the end of December. No child deaths have been reported in Iowa, though the state has had deaths of children in previous years.

Birks urges nearly everyone to get a vaccination now, if they have not gotten one already last fall.  The vaccine (shot or nasal mist) is recommended for everyone 6 months and older every year.   Call Myrtue Medical Center at 755-5130 or the Public Health Department at 755-4422 to make an appointment for your immunization.