Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Louise Ekenstam RN prepares to give a flu shot at the Tooele County Health Department back in January. Health officials say vaccinations make the flu less severe for those who get it and keeps them from spreading it to other people.

March 20, 2018
County had high number of flu cases this year, officials say

The number of flu cases has tripled this year from last year at Urgent Care of Tooele Valley in Tooele City, according to a medical assistant.

“I would say we’ve had three times the amount of flu cases than we normally have,” said medical assistant Dana Busico. “Quite a few of those people did have the flu shot before they came in.”

Ronald Trudel, MD, at Mountain West Medical Center, said the flu was extremely prevalent this year in Tooele County. He said getting vaccinated is always important.

“Even though it was only 10-15 percent effective this year, getting vaccinated lessens the severity and potential mortality in our geriatric and younger children,” Trudel said.

About 57 percent of all influenza hospitalizations are of people 65 years of age or older, according to a report released by the Utah Department of Health.

The recent Utah Influenza Report indicated that 17 Tooele County residents were hospitalized because of influenza since the flu season began on Oct. 1 through March 10.

A total of 1,866 people have been hospitalized in Utah for influenza this flu season with a high of 855 in Salt Lake County

The same report listed Tooele County’s influenza-like illnesses from March 4-10 as “minimal.” Six other health districts in Utah were listed as “minimal” for flu conditions for the same time period.

Bear River and Davis counties ranked “high” for influenza-like illnesses during the same week.

Salt Lake, Southeast Utah, Utah, and Weber-Morgan health districts were listed as “low to moderate” for influenza-like illnesses from March 4-10.

The Utah Department of Health publishes a weekly report throughout the influenza season that synthesizes data from a variety of sources to give an up-to-date picture of influenza activity in the state.

The recent report indicated that due to technical issues the past several months, influenza like illnesses in Utah for 2017-18 may be significantly underreported.

Busico said that Urgent Care of Tooele Valley was out of flu tests for the month of February.

“We test for flu using a swab up each nostril, but there was a nationwide shortage of the flu tests,” Busico said. “The first thing we like to do is test for strep throat using a swab on the back of the throat. Strep symptoms are similar to flu. People get very sick with the flu and it lasts from 10 days to two weeks. There is a higher fever with the flu than with strep.”

She said pharmacies were out of Theraflu for a while. The product is effective in battling the flu if used within 48 hours after contracting the virus.

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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