Oklahoma Ranks Top State For Flu Activity

Thursday, March 19th 2015, 6:41 pm
By: News 9

The highest flu activity in the nation this season was in Oklahoma and more specifically, Oklahoma City.

The national pharmacy chain Walgreens just released the findings, at the same time as the latest flu numbers from the state were released.

Flu activity is finally winding down, which is a nice change of pace for pharmacies in Oklahoma.

“Non-stop, absolutely, we are open 24 hours a day and we fill a few prescriptions 24 hours a day,” said Sarah Wyssmann, a Walgreens Pharmacist in Edmond.

However, looking back at the nasty flu season reveals the disease gripped Oklahomans at a record-breaking rate.

“It has been a very busy flu season, probably the busiest since I've been a pharmacist,” Wyssmann said.

She said January was the peak at her pharmacy and it even ran out of Tamiflu at various points.

“There were several days where we had to call other stores and get it tracked down,” Wyssmann told News 9.

Walgreens crunched the numbers nationwide for flu prescriptions November through February.

Here is a look at the top ten states with flu activity:

Top 10 States with Flu Activity

Aggregate data from November 2014 through February 2015

1. Oklahoma

2. Arkansas

3. Mississippi

4. Texas

5. Tennessee

6. Louisiana

7. Alabama

8. Kentucky

9. Nebraska

10. South Carolina

Here is the list of most active cities nationwide:

Top 10 DMAs with Flu Activity

Aggregate data from November 2014 through February 2015

1. Oklahoma City, Okla.

2. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas

3. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

4. Jackson, Miss.

5. Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Ark.

6. Knoxville, Tenn.

7. Austin, Texas

8. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.

9. Chattanooga, Tenn.

10. Tulsa, Okla.

“I didn't realize that we were number one on the list, that's very surprising,” Wyssmann explained. “It explains away those busy days for sure,” she added.

The Walgreens numbers reflect what the state health department has been reporting, which is the worst year yet.

New numbers released Thursday show the record-breaking flu season in Oklahoma has now killed more than 100 people. Three new deaths were reported over the last week, bringing the total to 101.

Overall, flu cases are slowing down.

“Big decline this month, so I would think the end of April we definitely don't see anymore,” Wyssmann said. “Hopefully the end of March will be the end of it,” she added.

The state health department says more than 2,000 Oklahomans have been hospitalized due to the flu since the season began.

This season's deaths include 77 in the 65-or older age group; 14 in the 50-64 group, four in both the 18-49 and the 5-17-year-old groups; and 2 who were 4 or younger.

Tulsa County has recorded the most deaths this season with 22, followed by Oklahoma County with 13 and five each in Garfield, Cleveland, Stephens and Logan counties.