Significant Increase in Flu-like Illness Expected in Shelby County

The Shelby County Health Department expects a significant increase in the number of influenza-like illnesses in Shelby County this month as children return to school after the holidays.

Emergency department data is retrieved from the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE-TN). The data shows the numbers of people reporting influenza-like symptoms at Shelby County hospital emergency departments increased by almost 300 percent during the past month

"The data indicate that seasonal influenza activity has begun to increase in Shelby County and is expected to peak in January or February," said Shelby County Health Department Director, Dr. Alisa Haushalter. "We strongly encourage everyone who is sick with a fever and flu-like symptoms to stay home in order to prevent spreading illness to others.

Dr. Haushalter said it is not too late for people to get the seasonal flu vaccine, if they have not yet been vaccinated." The Health Department is offering free influenza vaccination at all public health clinics, while supplies last.