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Flu cases spike 43% in Missouri

Christmas brought the flu to many of Missouri families this week with numbers increasing dramatically. According to weekly state data, Missouri had a total of 857 lab-positive flu cases from December 8-14, compared to 485 from December 1-7. The increase represents a roughly 43% jump from the previous week’s figures.

No flu deaths were reported during the latest information.

Northwest Missouri continues to surpass the rest of the state with the number of influenza cases. The region had 514 cases during December 8-14, compared to eastern Missouri’s 114, central Missouri’s 95, southeast Missouri with 69 and southwest Missouri with 65.

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Influenza B appears to be the strain picking up steam this season. Similar to type A, influenza B is also highly contagious and can have dangerous effects on your health in more severe cases. Type B influenza can cause seasonal outbreaks and can be transferred throughout the year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports types A and B can be equally severe, challenging a previous misconception that type B tends to be a milder disease.

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When gathering this week with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, Missourians should take some important safety measures to prevent the spread of germs.

• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after touching shared objects or surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, remote controls, shopping counters, debit card readers, etc. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
• Stay home while you’re sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

–Wire services