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Influenza cases down compared to previous year

LA CROSSE (WXOW) – Cases of influenza are down compared to this time last year, due largely to a different strain of the virus.

However, health officials still advise – if you haven’t already – get your flu shot.

Last year’s H3N2 strain claimed the lives of 185 children and hospitalized tens of thousands in the country. This year’s strain of H1N1 has had significantly less of an effect, but it tends to target the young and elderly populations more frequently.

“People will recover a lot faster if they’ve had their vaccine,” Gundersen Infection Preventionist Megan Meller said. “We also stress that in our pediatric population, they receive that second dose of the influenza vaccine. They’re the only population that we require that for because they need that extra dose of protection.”

Meller said Gundersen Health System has seen about 50 confirmed cases of influenza A, with only three hospitalizations to date.

The flu vaccine is safe for anyone six months or older.

Federal flu reports show the flu level in Wisconsin right now is low.

WKOW

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