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Got Flu?

Fulton County Flu Cases Up 700%


Influenza cases in Fulton County are up more than 700% in 2008 over 2007, but the number may be deceiving.

Mike Oricko, Fulton County health commissioner, said there were more people sick this year, but much of the increase is due to better reporting.

“In the past, cases may or may not have been reported,” he said.

“This year, everybody saw this as something important.”

So far, there have been 484 reported cases of influenza in Fulton County, and “the season isn’t over, but it is slacking off.”

Last year, there were 58 reported cases. That means in 2008, the number of flu cases increased 426, or 734.5%.

One factor in the equation is the 2008 flu vaccine.

Each year, scientists try to predict the three strains of flu that will impact the U.S. a year in advance. They look at the types of flu that are developing in Asia, and other factors.

For many years, they have predicted correctly; but for 2008 they missed the call, and the vaccine did not include protection against the particular flu strain that made the rounds.

Oricko said he was one of many people who had the 2008 flu vaccine, then acquired the flu. He said he missed about week of work.

How long a person is laid low by the flu depends on many factors, including the age and health of the patient.

He said influenza may have been a factor in the death of an older woman in the county.

Despite the problem with the vaccine, Oricko said he still encourages persons to be vaccinated.- David Pugh


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