Mid-South ranks among top areas for flu activity

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:47 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As we head into the holidays, the Mid-South ranks among the top areas for flu activity.

According to the CDC’s weekly influenza report, the state of Tennessee has the most flu cases of any state in the country.

“We sort of expected this, we predicted it would be a bad year because of what we saw in the southern hemisphere like Australia, they had a terrible year, they had an early year,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, Baptist Memorial infectious disease specialist.

It’s why, nationwide, about 20,000 people were hospitalized with the flu last week. That’s nearly double the number from the week before.

As of Nov. 19, Tennessee’s Department of Health’s latest numbers report that over 1,300 patients tested positive for influenza-like illnesses out of over 8,000 treated in Memphis-Shelby County health facilities — off-peak numbers, with no signs of backing down.

“Are the holidays a problem, of course!” Threlkeld said. “People go around the country visiting relatives, visiting elderly relatives, and that’s kicked up the numbers in both of Covid and the flu.”

The Arkansas Department of Health has received over 14,200 positive flu tests since October.

Mississippi State Department of Health anticipates flu activity coupled with RSV and COVID-19 to remain high through the new year, a concern officials have for their rural hospital ICU bed availability.

“They are struggling with being able to transfer to a higher level of care because of this and we’ve been having a lot of transfers having to go out of state because of the difficulty of capacity,” said the Mississippi State Department of Health.

While flu activity remains high throughout the Mid-South, doctors recommend anyone eligible to protect themselves from the virus.

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