CHARLESTON (AP) — More than 10,000 flu cases have been confirmed in West Virginia as of mid-December, the highest total for the period in at least five years, state figures show.
West Virginia is among 31 states reporting widespread flu activity, the Centers for Disease Control said.
As of Dec. 18, there were 10,676 confirmed cases, according to Department of Health and Human Resources data. In all of December, there were 6,658 cases in 2011, 6,245 cases in 2010, 8,961 in 2009, 6.271 in 2008 and 7,217 in 2007.
“Every week there’s been significant jumps in the number of confirmed positives. We’ve seen steady increases in confirmed cases from across the county and across the state for five consecutive weeks,” Brandon Merritt, regional epidemiologist, with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, told the Charleston Daily Mail (http://bit.ly/U8T0RG ).
Central West Virginia had the highest number of confirmed cases, 2,945, while north-central West Virginia had the lowest number, 943. There were 1,659 cases in southern West Virginia, 1,553 in the Mid-Ohio Valley, 1,520 in eastern West Virginia, 1,177 in western West Virginia and 1,155 in northern West Virginia. The state’s regional breakdown also includes Kanawha County, which had 619 cases.
No cases were reported in Pleasants, Berkeley, Randolph, Pendleton and McDowell counties. More than 1,000 cases were reported in both Summers and Webster counties.
Flu seasons usually peak at the end of January or in early February but this year’s season might peak early, he said.
“It’s hard to say, we’re still trending upwards. It’s hard to say when we’re going to trend back down,” he said.
Most of West Virginia’s cases are influenza AH3, which is included in this year’s flu vaccine, Merritt said.