Influenza activity is rising fast; approaching epidemic levels in Wisconsin

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LA CROSSE (WEAU)- Flu vaccine procrastinators take note: Influenza activity it is on the rise, and one doctor says it's approaching epidemic levels.

According to this week's CDC Flu Activity Report, influenza levels are
on the increase across the country. Wisconsin reported 83 more cases confirmed and 48 more people hospitalized just this week.

It's no fun having the flu explains La Crosse local Barbra Mosher, who was extremely ill last week.

“I was dehydrated and spewed so much that I couldn't hold water down," described Mosher.

According to the flu activity report released by the state of Wisconsin there has been an increase of 113 confirmed cases to 196 so far this year.

"24 hospitalized this week were over the age of 65, 6 were less than a year old, and
4 pregnant women," said State Influenza Coordinator for Wisconsin Tom Haupt.

Nurse epidemiologist at Gundersen Lutheran Marilyn Michels advises anyone who hasn't gotten their flu shot get one before the flu season hits the hardest.

"We are off to an early start, a robust start and we are seeing a fair
amount in our region,” said Michels.

Locally the hospitals here in La Crosse have seen a slight
increase in patients with influenza while the flu clinics has seen a
low rate of people coming in for vaccinations.

"We need to get immunization to a higher level. Statewide it's at 30%
for young children and 20% for school age children,” said Michels.

The CDC reports 3 babies have died this year due to the illness. The State Health Department says it is concerned about the seeing these numbers this
early in the season.

"These numbers are high, we haven't had an early season in the past 10 years or more," said Haupt.

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