Flu cases in Alaska are way up

Flu cases in Alaska are way up

Experts say wash your hands and get vaccinated.

It looks like a lot of Alaskans resolved to get the flu in 2019 based on recent flu reports.

Lab-confirmed cases of influenza have risen dramatically beginning in January, according to the Alaska Influenza Report issued by the Alaska Division of Public Health.

Through December 2018, there were 84 lab-confirmed cases of the flu in Alaska, according to the report. In January, there were 750 — there have been 1,014 total — with most of them coming in the back half of the month.

“These past couple of weeks there’s certainly been an increase,” said Louisa Castrodale, epidemiologist for the Alaska Division of Public Health.

The week of Jan. 12, there were still fewer than 100 flu cases reported. In each of the next two weeks, there were more than 300, according to the report.

[Cold weather can’t stop vigil for those aboard missing plane]

While the majority of cases in January and in general were in Anchorage, there were 54 confirmed cases in Southeast Alaska in January and 127 for the season as a whole.

“We’re detecting flu throughout the state,” Castrodale said.

It’s also just flu season in Alaska. The CDC’s most resent estimate put the number of flu sufferers at between 6 million and 7 million.

Alaska’s flu activity is among the highest in the nation for the 2018-2019 flu season, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Castrodale said each flu season features different peaks and dips in activity, so it is difficult to compare what’s happening this year with past seasons or to discern patterns.

[Governor’s candidate screening draws scrutiny]

“The flu sort of does what it wants to do,” she said. “It’s pretty unpredictable.”

Those who want to avoid the flu are advised to wash their hands regularly and get vaccinated, Castrodale said.

“It’s never too late for a flu shot,” she said.

People who are suffering from the flu should stay home to avoid spreading the virus and stay hydrated, Castrodale said, or they should seek medical attention if necessary.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


A sign outside Safeway advertises free flu shots, Feb. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A sign outside Safeway advertises free flu shots, Feb. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

Hand sanitizer and declaration forms for out-of-state arrivals to the Juneau International Airport on Oct. 12, 2020. An update to the state's travel mandates and to the way tests from the airport are processed, out-of-state arrivals must now register both with the state's traveler website and a private lab's website. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
City announces new requirements for out-of-state arrivals

Updated travel mandate changes process.

This is a police car.
Police calls for Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

teeaassee
Firefighters respond to a Friday night fire

At about 10:30 p.m., CCFR responded to a residential fire on the 8000 block of Thunder Street.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. (courtesy photo)
Election 2020: A conversation with U.S. House Rep. Don Young

The congressman discusses economics, oil and the stimulus

This is a police car.  It has always been a police car.
Police calls for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Capital Transit is tightening passenger limits in response to raised community risk levels, Oct. 22, 2020. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Risk level means new limits for city buses

Fewer passengers will be allowed in busses and vans.

This is a police car.  It has always been a police car.
Police calls for Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This is a police car. It has always been a police car.
Police calls for Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read