FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky health officials said Friday morning that flu activity in the commonwealth is now “widespread.”
The designation means officials have confirmed cases of the seasonal viral illness in at least half of the state’s regions.
“We strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t received a flu vaccine, particularly children 6 months and older and those people at high risk for complications related to the flu, to get a flu shot,” Dr. Jeff Howard, commissioner with the Department for Public Health, said in a statement.
He also reminded people to take basic precautions, including covering up coughs, washing hands often and staying home if symptoms appear.
Kentucky has reported 1,457 confirmed cases of flu, officials said. That is slightly higher than the 1,411 reported at this time last season.
Authorities said five deaths — including four adults and one child — attributable to the flu have been reported this season in Kentucky. That is lower than the 12 adult deaths reported by this time last season. In all, Kentucky saw 333 flu-related deaths last season.
Louisville is among the hardest hit areas this season, officials said, with more than 880 cases confirmed so far in the city and surrounding areas.
Heath officials said last season’s toll was especially high.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 900,000 flu-related hospitalizations, resulting in more 80,000 deaths.