Flu hitting Louisiana, metro N.O. area hard

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 29, 2013 at 7:26 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 29 at 7:40 AM

Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: aharris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @antwanharris

Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich says his days have been filled dealing with flu cases.

"This is the second year in a row where our flu has peaked early and it is hitting us hard," he said.

In fact, a new report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Louisiana is among ten states in the US where the flu is widespread meaning more than half the state is reporting flu activity.

The CDC reports more than 1,600 new cases in the state last week.

"We are seeing tons of flu. Our offices are seeing over 100 patients a day. Anywhere from 25 to 40 of the patients being flu," Cvitanovich said.

Several southern states continue to be a hot bed for flu cases but the good news is there is plenty of vaccine still available.

So far there have been four flu-related deaths in Texas.

One of the deadliest strains, the "H1N1" or “Swine Flu,” has been reported in many of Louisiana's cases.

Cvitanovich said those who normally can fight off the virus are succumbing to swine flu.

"You have a young age group between 20 and 40 years old who normally we would not expect a death from the flu," he said.

Health experts say the current flu vaccine can prevent swine flu and other strains if people get tested.

The CDC reports less than half of Americans were vaccinated last year.

Cvitanovich said, "Us having widespread flu this early is alarming to me and should be to everyone. Especially to people who haven't been vaccinated yet or to people who are in categories that cause us concern about complications."

Generally, peak flu season is during February, meaning there's still plenty of time to get vaccinated.

There's more than 300,000 flu cases reported each year.

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