State health officials are reporting that Iowans could become sick three times this flu season. Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director Doctor Patricia Quinlisk says three separate strains of influenza have already been identified in the state. Fortunately, she says, Iowans can get protection.
“All three of these strains are covered by this year’s seasonal flu vaccine,” Quinlisk said. “So, if you get the vaccine, it’ll protect you from getting all three of those strains.” The flu strains are identified as the H3N2 or influenza A virus, the influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus.
“We know that these strains hit different people…the H1N1 hits school age children and the H3 has already killed a couple elderly women in Minnesota. So, that strain seems to hit the elderly pretty hard. And we also have a B strain going around and we don’t know yet who that’s going to hit hard,” Quinlisk said.
This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Quinlisk is urging all Iowans six months old and older to get their annual flu shot. Getting the shot now, she says, will offer protection against the flu over the Christmas and New Years holidays. Quinlisk says Iowa has experienced a “jump” in influenza cases within the last week.
Find out more on the Iowa Department of Public Health website.