Flu season has peaked, but activity remains high

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, flu activity peaked in the state two weeks ago.

But in western Wisconsin, it's the second time a flu peak has occurred in four months.

Health officials say that this years flu season has been unique because there have been two different peaks of two different strains of the flu.

"We saw a peak earlier this year about January or February, a peak in cases. And then a different flu strain, which is still in the vaccine, but it's usually a flu strain that we don't see a lot of. So this other flu strain, this H3N2, has become more prominent," said La Crosse County Health Department Public Health Nurse Jo Foellmi.

Foellmi says she thought it was going to be a slow flu season with no hospitalizations reported until after Jan. 1.

But since then La Crosse County has seen 50 flu-related hospitalizations while the Eau Claire County Health Department says they have seen 55 this year.

"Today we're still seeing a number of hospitalizations related to this flu strain. A lot of people are still showing symptoms and they're going in to seek treatment, to get tested, to get the anti-viral medications," said Foellmi.

According to the DHS, western Wisconsin is currently seeing high levels of the flu.

Officials say even though the season is no longer at its peak, it's still worth it to get vaccinated if you have not already.

"It will make the symptoms less severe and you'll recover a little faster. And it will hopefully protect those, well I shouldn't say hopefully. It will protect those around you by giving them some protection, even though you're the one that got the shot," said Foellmi.

Officials expect flu season to continue in the region into May.