By Bethany Blankley
Most Texas regions have reported increased flu activity, according to the state Department of Health Services (DSHS).
“Due to regional increase,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) increased the classification of Texas flu activity from moderate to high.
DSHS announced that flu activity “continues to rise and is at an above-average level.”
The department also announced free resources and access to information about receiving a flu vaccine.
The department’s latest flu report included the state’s first child death associated with the flu. A 5-year-old child from the Rio Grande Valley area, who did not receive a flue vaccine, died from the flu, according to the agency.
State health officials say the number of flu cases in Texas fluctuate week to week based on voluntary reports compiled by the Texas Influenza Surveillance Activity Report.
This month, Tarrant County’s Public Health Department chief epidemiologist said the county was “a little bit ahead” of previous years.
Hospital laboratories across Texas voluntarily report influenza tests to the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS). Providers throughout Texas also submit specimens for influenza testing to Texas public health laboratories, including the DSHS state laboratory in Austin and to nine Texas Laboratory Response Network laboratories.
According to the CDC, the most at risk for getting the flu are young children, pregnant women and individuals 65 years or older. Those suffering from chronic medical conditions like heart disease or asthma are also more susceptible.