MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin health officials are urging people to protect themselves as flu numbers spike across the state.
The Department of Health Services reported Friday that Wisconsin has seen 459 hospitalizations and 11 deaths due to flu complications this season. The number of hospitalizations is three times higher than last year at this time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has elevated Wisconsin to its high flu category. South-central and southwestern Wisconsin have been hardest hit. And physicians said it could get worse before it gets better.
“The best thought is that we are still going to be seeing it rise before we see it fall. Generally, the flu season lasts anywhere between four and 12 weeks, with eight kind of being the average,” said Dr. Joseph McBride, an infectious disease specialist at UW Health in Madison. “I would imagine we are going to remain pretty high throughout January, but we’ll see.”
In Milwaukee: 131 people have been hospitalized with the flu compared with 17 at this time last season. “We know that it’s hitting some families pretty hard,” Aurora Health Care pediatrician Dr. Kevin Dahlman said.
State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers urged anyone who has not had an annual flu shot to get one.