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Oklahoma's flu season isn't over, health officials say

Even though flu activity continues to decrease, Oklahoma's flu season typically doesn't officially end until May.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: March 29, 2013
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Flu cases in Oklahoma continue to dwindle, with fewer than 10 hospitalizations reported in the past week.

And the good news is, those numbers are expected to continue to fall.

“Two months ago, we were definitely peaking, so we're seeing a steady decline, which is really good,” said Christie McDonald-Hamm, an epidemiologist at the state Health Department.

Flu numbers aren't expected to peak again, and the state should see a continued decrease in the number of Oklahomans sickened from the flu, she said. Oklahoma's flu season typically runs from October to May.

In the past week, eight flu-related hospitalizations were reported in Oklahoma for the entire state. Since September, 1,066 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported, according to the state Health Department.

One person 65 or older from Muskogee County was reported this week to have died from the flu, but the death did not occur this week, according to the report. Since September, 34 state residents have died from the flu, including 28 people who were 65 or older.

To gauge flu activity in Oklahoma, the state Health Department gathers data from 11 laboratories and 21 doctors across the state.

In the past week, only 2.8 percent of patients included in the data showed signs of flu-like illness. The Health Department uses 3.5 percent as a baseline for this data, meaning the current rate is below what's considered normal.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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