Georgia Leads Nation In Flu Cases
It's not as many cases as this time last year, but it is keeping doctors busy.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Diana Davis visited a DeKalb County pediatrician's office that was swamped with sick kids.
"The one place where the disease is already on the uptick is Georgia," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the CDC's national center for immunization and respiratory diseases. "It's leading the nation in flu (cases) right now. Every year thousands of people die from the flu all around the country and about 200,000 are hospitalized. We don't know which people are going to be unlucky, so we recommend everyone age six months and up to get the flu vaccine."
So far, Georgia public health officials said cases are concentrated in metro Atlanta, but more are popping out across the state. School age kids are being hit the hardest. That's been the case at DeKalb County's Children's Medical Group, according to pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu. "We're seeing all kinds of illness right now. Mostly flu and other respiratory illnesses like croup and just bad colds. We're also seeing a lot of strep throat infections right now," said Shu.
It's not just kids being hit by the flu. A 63-year-old metro Atlanta woman died from flu last month.
Local emergency rooms say they're seeing more sick adults than normal.
Piedmont Hospital's emergency room told Davis it is not as busy as this time last year...but the numbers have been steady.
Those who are getting sick have not had the vaccine. Dr. Henry Sieglson said last year's epidemic is still on the minds of emergency room doctors this year.
"We had patients on ventilators last year. Young people who died and all three types of flu this year are covered this year by the vaccine," said Sieglson.
Unlike last season, there is no shortage of either the inhaled vaccine or the shots this season.
Though the CDC recommends all Americans who are over the age of six months get the flu vaccine, it is especially important for pregnant women. They are at high risk for complications of flu.
This is just the start of flu season. The CDC expects many more cases.