Despite attempts to prod more Georgians to get flu vaccines this season, the number of serious cases across the state is way up from a year ago.
The Macon Telegraph reports Georgia has had 31 flu-related deaths from July through this week, and that tally is likely to increase, according to the Georgia Department of Health. By comparison, there were 11 flu-related deaths in the state for 2012-13.
There have also been more than 600 hospital visits because of the flu.
“That is a concern,” said Jennifer Jones, spokeswoman for the state’s North Central Health District. “It appears to be more prevalent than last year.”
Since the state doesn’t require hospitals and physicians’ offices to report flu cases, she said, state officials don’t have an exact count on the number of cases.
Instead, the state extrapolates its numbers from data that hospitals and physicians share voluntarily.
There hasn’t been a confirmed, flu-related death yet in the 13-county region that the North Central Health District oversees, Jones said, but her office is awaiting lab results for several patients to determine if the cause of death was flu-related. Jones said she expects that one death will be confirmed as flu-related when lab results return.
“We’re seeing a lot more cases,” she said.