Kansas City health officials say flu season ‘unprecedented’

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City-area hospital and health officials say this year’s flu season so far has seen an “unprecedented” number of cases.

The University of Kansas was treating 23 inpatients with the flu on Tuesday, along with 13 others with suspected cases of the flu. Two other influenza patients have died this year at the hospital.

Chief medical officer Lee Norman says in his past eight years at the hospital he’s seen at most 10 hospitalized at any given time.

Norman says as of Monday 10 of 28 Kansas City-area hospitals weren’t accepting helicopters bringing patients to their emergency rooms, which are packed with flu patients.

The Kansas Department of Health reported 333 deaths related to influenza or pneumonia between September and Dec. 20. More than 1,100 in Kansas died of the flu last season, which typically ends in March.

Chief epidemiologist Larry Franken of the Wyandotte County Public Health Department says numbers this year are troubling because the flu normally hits the hardest in January or February.

Franken says he’s concerned 2015 will bring similarly high numbers of flu cases in the area.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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