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Posted on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Flu update: Season in full swing in Washtenaw County; more than 40 cases confirmed

By Amy Biolchini

Flu season is under way in Washtenaw County, as more than 40 lab-confirmed cases of the illness have been reported to date, health officials said this week. Eight people have been hospitalized.

Reports of flu cases began in September this year, a start that Washtenaw County Public Health officials said was earlier than normal. However, the illness did not appear to begin to spread widely until the first full week of December.


A nurse practitioner prepares to administer a flu vaccine. The flu virus is circulating widely in Washtenaw County, and health officials recommend being vaccinated.

AP File photo

Across Michigan, 63 cases of flu had been reported as of this week — almost double the number from last week.

Four people were hospitalized with the flu last week in Washtenaw County. There’s a slight delay in reporting cases, so there could actually be more than the about 40 cases that have been reported locally, said Laura Bauman, epidemiologist for Washtenaw County Public Health.

Flu symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees or higher, a cough and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches and/or body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Although the flu season started early this year, Bauman said the illness is spreading at about the normal rate.

“I wouldn’t say it’s happening any faster, or that the curve is faster than the previous flu season,” Bauman said.

There’s no shortage of the flu vaccine this year, Bauman said.

Though some private doctors’ offices may not carry the vaccine through January, the public health department and many pharmacies carry the vaccine all winter, Bauman said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that the flu vaccine formulated for this year is a good match for the strains of flu in circulation.

The vaccine contains two strains of influenza Type A virus and one strain of influenza Type B virus.

Though not every report of flu in Washtenaw County includes the virus type, Bauman said of the ones that have included that information, about 80 percent of them are influenza Type A.


The blue line represents lab-confirmed cases of influenza this season, which is in full swing in Washtenaw County. The drop in the blue line is likely due to a time lag in reporting, health officials said.

Courtesy Washtenaw County Public Health

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

I wonder how many that got the flu had a flu shot.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Here's the main page on flu from the County's Public Health Department


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

We all had flu shots in our family in November and last weekend we all were sick with some crazy flu-like bug along with many of our friends. I've heard this in other areas too. People all over suddenly sick with something like the flu...and they had their flu shots. I wonder what it was because I was starting to wonder if the strain in the shot was wrong or something. I haven't had the flu in years but this definitely brought back memories of when I used to get it every year. I was miserable with a 101 fever and horrible shivers and body aches and I'm still dealing with the congestion and cough.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 10:17 a.m.

Billy Bob........ I live in a neighborhood, have contact with adults and kids everyday and again - do not get sick. Maybe these habits of shots, etc. are wearing down your natural defenses against deserves and you should change your experiences. Shots like these are a medical system scam. My dad has gotten flu shots every year and still gets the flu. Go figure!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

Goob...Not all of are able to live alone in a cabin deep in the woods, never see other people, and live on road kill. People sneeze and cough on you and you are done for. I have had the shots since the first year they were available and have yet to have a real flu attack. Sick, yes; old-style flu, no.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

We are all still fighting it but feeling much peaked over the weekend


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

Flue shots are a scam!


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

I have never had a flu shot and have not gotten the flu for more than 20 plus years. If God had meant for us to get shots, he would have put a port in our arm. Go figure!

Ann English

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

While waiting to be called in for my flu shot today, a family came in for shots. The child was probably under a year old. Hope they don't get influenza in spite of their vaccinations today. The nurse told me that children spread it to adults. The more of us who DO get vaccinated, the safer the unvaccinated will be from catching it.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

It sounds like your family was just sick over the weekend. If it only lasted a few days, then I'd say the vaccine helped. Full-on flu lasts longer than that.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

I know the flu is a media hog, getting most of the attention in this season, but the stomach virus thing seems to be running WILD in the area. Which makes me wish that Ann would contact the local hospitals and ask what's being reported....and report it here once in a while. Channel 4 Detroit does that and I think it's interesting.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

But that doesn't advertise flu shots.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

300,000 people in Washtenaw County and only 40 cases? Is this as low as it sounds or is this normal?

Jojo B

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

There have been almost 40 cases in my office alone. Most are obviously NOT reported. You get sick, infect all of your friends, then stay home, get better, and come back and the CDC will never know about it unless you require major medical attention.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

had it twice already. so did my friend. one week then ok then had it again. need to wash hands big time.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Did you receive a confirmed diagnosis from a licensed physician in both cases? I doubt it.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

I doubt that any of you had the flue twice!


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

Look before you leap.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

From this site: "The authors of the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute website are neither health practitioners nor legal advisors, and make no claims in this regard. Therefore, none of the information on this website should be construed as medical or legal advice."