Latest ADPH report shows flu spike in Shelby County

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

The latest map from the Alabama Department of Public Health detailing influenza activity has ranked Shelby County as an area with significant flu activity detected.

Shelby County is located in Area 5 of the ADPH Alabama Influenza Surveillance Map, which also includes DeKalb, Blount, Etowah, Cherokee and St. Clair Counties.

The significant flu activity was reported during the final week of 2016 and is based on reported flu-like illness data or reported flu outbreaks for the week of Dec. 25-31, as well as positive flu specimens from the previous three weeks.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and can be deadly – especially to vulnerable people, including the very young, the elderly and those with certain chronic health conditions.

Symptoms can include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat and nasal congestion or stuffiness.

In addition to the high level of flu activity detected in Shelby County, the Center for Disease Control weekly U.S. flu surveillance report for the week ending Dec. 24 ranked the state of Alabama as one of four states to experience high flu-like illness activity.

Alabama, along with Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma are all states with the highest reported activity for the flu out of 50 states.

The ADPH has listed 10 steps for individuals to help fight the flu, including getting vaccinated, washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, stay home with a fever, stockpile supplies, clean and disinfect, know an office emergency plan, learn home care, call a doctor if symptoms get worse and stay informed.

For more information on the flu, to view surveillance maps or to learn tips on flu prevention, visit Adph.org/influenza/.