Douglas sees highest flu rates in years |

Douglas sees highest flu rates in years

by Rachel Spacek

Carson Valley Medical Center has seen one of the highest rates of influenza cases this season than the center has seen in years, with 183 cases reported so far since flu season began in October.

Last week, Douglas County saw 30 new cases of the flu reported and 80 influenza-like illness events reported in emergency departments. There were no hospitalizations last week, however there have been 30 hospitalizations reported in the county since October.

At Carson Valley Medical Center alone, they have seen 91 confirmed positive influenza cases just last month. The center saw only 23 cases and a total of 117 cases reported In January 2017.

Joey Crandall, communication coordinator with Carson Valley Medical Center, said Douglas County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state of Nevada.

“Vaccination, good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette is key in prevention,” Crandall said. “A person can be positive for the flu and be contagious with the flu 24 hours before you experience your first symptoms.”

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 9, influenza activity as increased nationwide in all states but Hawaii and Oregon. The CDC is recommending individuals over 6 months old get flu vaccinations as they are predicting, “flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks.”

Flu vaccinations are still available throughout Douglas County, at Douglas County Community Health or at any of their primary care clinics, CVMC Senior Care, Jobs Peak Internal Medicine and Family Practice, Minden Family Medicine, Ironwood Primary Care, Topaz Ranch Medical Clinic and Alpine Medical. Appointments can be made to receive the vaccine and Minden Family and Topaz Ranch can accept same-day appointments in some cases.

Carson Valley Medical Center implemented an influenza vaccination policy two years ago, the vaccine is offered free of charge to all employees prior to the start of flu season.

There have been a total of 19 influenza deaths so far in Washoe County, 18 of those deaths were of individuals 65 or older. In Clark County, there have been a total of 22 deaths since flu season began.

When it comes to flu treatment, Crandall said there is no antibiotic to treat it.

“There are antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu, but those mostly treat the symptoms,” Crandall said. “We provide supportive care, such as hydration, and help manage the symptoms the patient is experiencing.”