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Monday, April 12, 2021

Texas is flu central in latest report

Texas is flu central in the latest Walgreens Flu Index report.

And though every other person you know may have symptoms, better to be here than in the Tyler-Longview area, which is No. 1 on the list. Dallas-Fort Worth comes in at No. 9, with all the top 10 locations in Texas, save for No. 10, which is nearby Little Rock, Arkansas. That mirrors the latest Centers for Disease Control report, which lists Texas and most surrounding states as leaders in influenza reports.

According to the Tarrant County Public Health Department, the percentage of reported influenza-like illness in Tarrant County increased from 4 percent in week 50 to 6.8 percent in week 51 and is currently above the 2017-2018 Tarrant County baseline of 3.2 percent. Based on data from five voluntarily reporting hospitals, the percentage of reported ICU admissions due to influenza in Tarrant County was 4.9 percent in week 51 of the year (Dec. 17-23). There have been no reported flu deaths in Tarrant County, while there have been six reported deaths in Dallas County.

The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranks those states and markets experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country.

The JPS Health Network says prescriptions for the flu medication Tamiflu quadrupled in December. JPS Health Network pharmacies filled 156 prescriptions for Tamiflu in the final week of December, up from 34 the first week of the month.

Demand rose so quickly, “I had our wholesaler rush some on an airplane over the weekend” to ensure the medication would be available for everyone who needed it, said Pharmacy Director Nicole Shoquist, who oversees pharmacy services at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and JPS Health Network clinics across Tarrant County. If taken within 48 hours of symptom onset, Tamiflu can shorten the duration of the flu.

JPS officials are urging everyone to be vaccinated against the flu. Together with preventive measures such as frequent hand-washing, the flu shot provides the best protection.

Even though the flu season is already underway, it’s not too late to be vaccinated. The vaccine can take several weeks to provide protection, but flu season in Texas can last well into spring, according to a JPS news release..

Flu shots are available at all JPS Medical Homes in Tarrant County during scheduled appointments or during designated walk-in hours. For those without insurance or who will be paying out-of-pocket, the cost is $25.

A directory of all JPS locations is on the network’s web site at www.jpshealthnet.org/about_jps/jps_locations.

The Tarrant County Public Health Departments also offers flu shots: http://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/public-health/public-health-locations.html?linklocation=Health%20Directors%20blog%20entry%20-%20October%2010,%202017&linkname=Where%20we%20offer%20flu%20shots

Many doctors’ offices, as well as several retailers, such as Walgreens also offer flu shots.

Top 10 DMAs* with Flu Activity

Week Ending 12/30/17

1. Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), Texas

2. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas

3. Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas

4. Houston, Texas

5. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas

6. Corpus Christi, Texas

7. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.)

8. San Antonio, Texas

9. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas

10. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.

Top 10 States with Flu Activity

Week Ending 12/30/17

1. Texas

2. Arkansas

3. Iowa

4. West Virginia

5. Nebraska

6. Idaho

7. Tennessee

8. Arizona

9. Missouri

10. North Carolina

Top 10 DMAs with Flu Activity Gains

Week Ending 12/30/17

1. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.)

2. Des Moines-Ames, Iowa

3. San Antonio, Texas

4. Montgomery-Selma, Ala.

5. San Diego, Calif.

6. Reno, Nev.

7. La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wis.

8. Phoenix (Prescott), Ariz.

9. Lafayette, La.

10. Wausau-Rhinelander, Wis.

Top 10 States with Flu Activity Gains

Week Ending 12/30/17

1. Iowa

2. Arizona

3. Connecticut

4. California

5. Nebraska

6. South Dakota

7. Wisconsin

8. Minnesota

9. Kansas

10. Alabama

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