This flu season has been one of the most severe in recent years. In the last two weeks, though, the flu epidemic has eased nationally. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray checks in with a Washoe County epidemiologist to see how the region is faring.
Kerry Chalkley is an epidemiologist with the Washoe County Health District. She’s been tracking the flu epidemic in the region throughout this season.
Chalkley explains that Washoe County had nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of the flu so far this season. That’s about double the number from the previous year. Even though small children and the elderly are the most vulnerable, people with underlying conditions are at an increased risk for complications.
“There are several underlying medical conditions that can put someone at a greater risk,” Chalkley says.” This can include everything from heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, lung conditions such as COPD, even asthma, kidney conditions, and liver conditions can put people at a greater risk for more severe illness.”
After an unprecedented season, Washoe has been experiencing a decline in the number of reported flu cases. Washoe’s flu epidemic peaked around the end of December, which is earlier the nationwide peak that occurred in the last two weeks. Despite the epidemic easing up nationwide, federal health officials are urging people to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so since the flu season isn’t over yet.