MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile County Health Department says there have been 1,074 cases of the flu in Mobile County. The following is a press release from MCHD:
The Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks (ID&O) division at the Mobile County Health Department has announced there have been 1,074 cases in Mobile County from reports received for visits seen at our local hospitals and MCHD where a rapid flu test was done. At this time last year, though, the number of cases was almost double than what is being reported now. This is almost 300 cases more than the previous report. However, Barbara Gibbs, R.N., M.P.H., the nurse in charge of ID&O, said the numbers vary from week to week and are dependent on timely reporting from all local areas. This caused the increase to appear greater. Mobile County remains the least affected region of influenza-like illness in Alabama. In the latest information from the Alabama Department of Public Health, Mobile County is the only area not listed as “Districts with Significant Influenza Activity Detected.” Mrs. Gibbs pointed out that according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, early vaccine effectiveness estimates so far show that the 2018-19 seasonal flu vaccine has reduced the risk of getting sick and having to go to the doctor by about half. Estimates were particularly good for children who got vaccinated, at more than 60 percent. The U.S. World Health Organization and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System laboratories contribute to virologic surveillance for influenza. From September 30, 2018, to February 2, 2019, clinical laboratories tested 536,301 specimens for influenza virus. Among these, 54,381 (10.1 percent) tested positive, including 52,028 (95.7 percent) for influenza A and 2,353 (4.3 percent) for influenza B. Influenza vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent influenza illness. Influenza antiviral medications are an important adjunct to vaccination in the treatment and prevention of influenza. All MCHD’s Family Health locations offer the vaccine. Our Urgent Care facility located at the Maj. Gen. William C. Gorgas Health Center in Downtown Mobile at 251 North Bayou Street will also offer flu shots during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. For a map of locations, please visit http://FamilyHealthAlabama.org. If a patient has a scheduled medical visit, the flu shot will be included in their visit and there will not be an additional charge to receive the flu shot on that visit. Patients who do not have a visit with a Family Health provider in the clinic on the same day will pay a nominal administration fee for the flu shot based on their poverty scale: $15 for levels A and B, $16 for levels C and D; $17 for level E; and $18 for levels F and G. There is no out-of-pocket expense with most insurance plans.