Submitted by: WI Department of Health and Human Services

Wisconsin Hit Hard by Flu Bug

Health officials say it’s not too late to get a flu shot

The flu bug is hitting Wisconsinites hard, spiking to nearly 1000 confirmed cases, and hundreds of hospitalizations. According to figures from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) there are 936 confirmed cases of influenza in Wisconsin, compared to 176 during the same period last year. The week-to-week comparison shows that there were 591 confirmed cases reported just a week ago, an increase of 345 from the previous week. (See graph)

There are also more hospitalizations for influenza this year than during the same time last year. To date, there have been over 1200 hospitalizations of people with influenza, compared to just 235 during the same period last year. (Graph below)

Confirmed influenza cases 2015 - 2017

Influenza related hospitalizations

“At this point, the number of flu cases in Wisconsin has already exceeded the number of cases at the peak of flu season last year,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. “The flu can be especially harmful for children and people over 65, as well as those with other health problems. We recommend those who have yet to get a flu shot to get one now, and to follow common sense practices to avoid spreading viruses.”

Those steps include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
  • Use your own drinking cups and straws.
  • Avoid being exposed to people who are sick.
  • Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
  • If you’re sick, stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
  • See a health care provider if your symptoms persist or get worse.

Influenza numbers are updated every Friday and can be found in the Weekly Respiratory Report, or you can sign up to receive the report via email(link is external).