Reports of influenza are down this winter in Illinois compared with recent years, health officials say

According to health officials, less cases of influenza has been reported this winter in Illinois in comparison to recent years.

The Illinois Department of Public Health data showed that there were 49 flu-related intensive care unit admissions and two outbreaks in the time period December 20 to 26. Around the same time during previous year, there were 323 ICU admissions and 70 outbreaks across the state.

Health officials said that there was a decline in flu reports because the influenza virus stays for longer time in the cold weather.

Allison Arwady, chief medical officer for the Chicago Department of Public Health, said, “We know that the virus itself does live longer when it’s colder or when it’s dry out. The idea is, when it’s milder, the agent is not living as long”.

Arwady mentioned that flu cases also tend to be quite prevalent in the middle of cold weather because people generally congregate indoors, which allows germs to spread.

In Chicago, the flu season was already at peak by this time in the past three years, when the weather was colder. However, according to state and local health officials, the flu is likely to peak this year in January or February, if one follows a more typical trend.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that this season’s flu vaccine is apparently a good match for the spreading virus if data so far is taken into consideration.

Local health officials mentioned that no surge has been noted in people getting shots, which has suggested that vaccination rates weren’t behind the reduction in flu cases yet. Health officials have recommended that people still must get flu shots.

Furthermore, Arwady said that expected peak has been seen so far, however, everything they know about flu has suggested that the situation will get worse from here.

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