Nearly 300 cases of the flu were reported in February

Charla Baker

Charla Baker


A recent flu outbreak could be winding down, but county heath officials encourage Laclede County residents to continue taking precautions against disease.
According to Laclede County Health Department Administrator Charla Baker, there have been 387 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza so far this year. Baker said that number was “significantly higher” than last year’s numbers, and the bulk of those cases were recorded in the past few weeks.
Baker said that health departments begin their regular count of influenza cases in September, and by Jan. 26, the health department had recorded a total of 94 flu cases for the year. In the next two weeks, those statistics more than doubled as the total jumped to 223 cases by Feb. 8. Baker said that the period between Feb. 8 and Feb. 16 was the county’s worst week for the flu. During that time, the health department recorded an additional 155 cases, and the total number of cases reached 378.
It was also during that period that the Stoutland school district cancelled school for two days because of illness. When the district cancelled class for Feb. 9 and 10, it reported that 100 of its 400 students were absent from school the previous day, and that 17 staff members were out sick also.
Baker said that children between the ages of 5 and 14 comprise the age group hit hardest by the flu this year.
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