Widespread flu reported in North Dakota, health department says

Boxes hold containers of the influenza virus vaccine Fluzone. Bob King / Forum News Service file photo
Boxes hold containers of the influenza virus vaccine Fluzone. Bob King / Forum News Service file photo

BISMARCK— The North Dakota Department of Health is reporting widespread influenza activity in the state for the first time this flu season.

The department said Friday, Feb. 1, it isn't too late to get the flu shot, and anyone 6 months or older should be vaccinated.

In North Dakota, 1,810 laboratory-identified cases of influenza have been reported this season to the health department, with most of them being children under the age of 10. Last season, one of the worst in the past 20 years in the state, there were 8,498 reported cases of the flu.

The 2017-2018 flu season had 185 reported child deaths nationwide and about 80 percent of those kids didn't receive a flu shot. This season has had about 22 child deaths across the U.S. from the flu, according to the department.

Only 44 percent of kids in North Dakota aged 6 months to 4 years old are currently vaccinated, according to the health department. In addition to getting a flu shot, people can help prevent getting or spreading the flu through frequent hand washing and staying home if illness strikes.

Learn more about getting a flu shot here.