Growing number of influenza cases reaching epidemic proportions in metro

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Doctors are warning everyone in the metro area about the growing numbers of influenza in the community right now.

“I had a fever, I was coughing real bad,” said Robert Meys, a patient at the University of Kansas Hospital.

Flu season is here, and many people are feeling the aches and pains that come along with it.

“The number of cases in this region have been skyrocketing, the CDC just earlier this week, yesterday I believe, announced that it has reached, in the United States, what they refer to as epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Lee Norman, the Chief Medical Officer At the University of Kansas Hospital.

Dr. Norman says 10 states have been reported to the Centers For Disease Control as widespread influenza; Kansas and Missouri are both on that list.

“There`s been, already in our country, about 5,000 deaths from influenza, and half of those occurred last week,” added Dr. Norman.

Dr. Norman says last year was milder, but this year is similar to flu season two years ago with the number of cases going straight up.

“When you`re meeting with other people , kids going into crowded classrooms, you going to social gatherings, you go into work where people are coughing and ill, you just have to be a lot more vigilant,” Dr. Norman said.

Robert Meys didn't get a flu shot, and now he's in the hospital.

“I feel great now, I feel a lot better. I hope I don`t get it back, it`s not a good thing,” Meys said, “Get that flu shot, get the flu shot, if you know somebody who has it, stay away from them, wash your hands, if you don`t wash your hands, you`re in trouble.”

Dr. Norman says to always cover your cough, wash your hands, and get the flu vaccine.

He says it`s not too late in the season to get the flu shot, and the number of cases is accelerating.

He also says there will be 5 million cases, give or take, of influenza, in the United States this year.

Dr. Norman says the vaccine this year is a good match.

He says there are four different kinds of flu strains in the vaccine; two Influenza "A", two Influenza "B" strains, and what they're seeing in the community is the right mix for what's in the vaccine.