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Little flu in Georgia, South Carolina as season starts

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 6:55 PM
Last updated 9:12 PM
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Georgia’s first flu surveillance report of the new flu season didn’t turn up much.

And after an early flurry of activity, reports of flu cases have died down at University Hospital in Augusta. South Carolina also isn’t seeing much activity.

The weekly report that covered the period ending Oct. 5 in Georgia found that slightly less than 1 percent of visits to physician offices and emergency rooms were by patients with flu-like illness. Of 321 specimens tested, only 12 – or 3.7 percent – were positive, according to the report by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Activity was even lower in South Carolina, where 0.23 percent of visits were by patients with flu-like illness and only two samples tested positive for flu, according to the report by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Con­trol. There were no flu-related hospitalizations or deaths reported in either state.

After an initial spate of positive tests at University Hospital three to four weeks ago, there has not been a positive test for two weeks and the number of patients with flu-like illness has declined, said Dr. Craig Smith, the medical director for infectious disease. He suspects education and people rushing to get vaccinated after cases became public might have helped.

Google Flu Trends, which tracks activity in a region by the number of people searching flu-related terms, lists both states and the nation as a whole as “low” in flu activity as of Sunday.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/12/13 - 08:31 am
Early Flurry

The "early flurry of [flu] activity" was likely caused by reaction to the flu vaccine by all those folks who rushed out and got flu shots in August. It is well known that a small percentage of people develop flu and/or flu symptoms as a side effect of the vaccine.

It is best to get your flu vaccine in November, since the actual flu "season" does not start until cold weather hits.

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