Kansas City has seen a steady, week-by-week rise in the number of people reported suffering from influenza.
That is a significant increase, according to Jeff Hershberger of the health department, who said 264 cases, most of which were Type A, turned up the week of Dec. 15, 100 more than the week before and more than double from Dec. 1.
The most recent report includes 259 of Type A flu, two of Type B and three that are undefined.
Since the flu season started at the end of September, Hershberger says they’ve counted 570 cases.
“What we’ve seen over that four week trend is a pretty significant increase, however it’s still pretty low numbers," says Hershberger. "Now what we have to remember anytime we look at flu numbers, a lot of people that have the flu will probably try to tough it out at home and not see a doctor.”
Those numbers, according to the health department, are under reported.
"The flu tests can build up in costs so the doctor may be just look at them and treat them for symptoms in which case we wouldn’t get a report on them having flu,” says Hershberger.
Regional comparisons around Missouri are difficult to make. St. Louis County had 157 cases in the week before Christmas, a hundred fewer than Kansas City. But Kansas City’s reporting dates come a week earlier, so the data does not match in real time.
Hershberger said there is still time to get possible benefit from flu shots. They may take up to two weeks to give maximum benefit but may still ease suffering and duration.