Flu Season Gaining Strength

The flu season started out slow in Nevada but has gained strength in recent weeks, health officials said.

In Washoe County, officials said the flu and pneumonia contributed to two deaths last week.

According to state health officials, Elko County led the state with 44 reported flu-like and laboratory-confirmed cases. Clark County was next with 29 cases and Washoe County with 13. Carson, Douglas and Lyon counties also reported an increase in the percentage of cases.

Officials add that reported cases are only an indicator of the spread of flu, because most people don't seek medical treatment. And of those who do, not all are tested to confirm a diagnosis.

Flu season typically begins in October and peaks in January or February, but the illness can continue into April or May, said Martha Framsted, spokeswoman for the Nevada State Health Division.

"So it is still too early in the season to determine when Nevada's flu season has reached its peak," she said. "All the more reason for people to get their flu shots and continue to take preventive measures to avoid becoming ill."

To avoid getting the flu, health officials stressed people should wash their hands frequently, and stay home if they do get sick so as not to infect others.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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