Flu widespread in Oklahoma

Friday, February 8th 2008, 4:33 pm
By: News 9

NEWS 9 and Associated Press

Health officials are warning of a flu outbreak in the state.

Flu cases tend to peak around this time of year and officials in Cleveland County said they have indeed seen an increase in the number of flu cases.

One reason for the increase in cases, could be a strain of flu not covered by the vaccine.

The department raised the influenza activity level from "local" to "widespread," which is the highest category because of the number of confirmed cases in the state.

State epidemiologist Kristy Bradly said 60 percent of flu tests taken in labs in eight regions of Oklahoma are coming back positive as a strain not covered by the vaccine.

Health officials are still recommending getting a flu shot, and plenty are still available.

"There are other flu viruses, strains, that are in that shot.  And just because you get one doesn't mean you can't get another kind," said Janice Sheehan from the Tulsa County Health Department.

A recent flu victim who didn't get a flu shot wishes now she had.

"I think it would have been a good idea. I'm not sure it would have kept you from getting this. But it might have made it not quite so extreme," said Lori Wright, a flu victim.