Tampa Bay area seeing spike in flu cases

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Influenza cases have spiked across Florida, and especially in the Tampa Bay area.

In a weekly report, the Florida Department of Health said the percentage of flu cases in urgent care visits last week was between 4 and 5 percent — putting it above the peak activity seen in the previous four years.

The report also found that region six, which includes Sarasota and Manatee counties, had moderate flu activity. The rest of the Tampa Bay area saw mild activity.

In both cases, officials say the flu is increasing in most Tampa Bay area counties.

Source: Florida Department of Health

In Florida last week, 16 outbreaks were reported. That’s nine more than the cases reported during the previous week.

Of those outbreaks last week, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties each saw five or more outbreaks. Pasco and Sarasota counties each saw one to two outbreaks.

Source: Florida Department of Health

Florida hasn’t seen as much flu activity as other states such as Alabama or Mississippi, where flu activity has been highest so far this year.

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory infection caused by multiple influenza viruses. The Florida Department of Health says flu viruses spread primarily when infected people cough, sneeze or talk.

Health officials say it’s still not too late to protect yourself against various strains of the flu. To find a place to get a flu vaccine, check with the Florida Department of Health vaccine locator.

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