In KC, flu cases triple last year's numbers as local outbreak spreads

Posted at 5:38 AM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 07:43:14-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Health officials say this season's strand of the flu is more deadly than years past. In the Kansas City area, there has been a big spike in flu cases. 

Statewide, 108 people died from the flu just last week, according to data from the Missouri Department of Health. So far this season, the state's death toll from the flu is close to 700. 

“The A strains that we are seeing are typically nastier, and we're just seeing a lot of it right now. There is still time to get a flu shot. It does take 14 days for it to get full efficacy, but go ahead and get that flu shot because it will decrease the severity and duration of the flu,” said Bill Snook with the Kansas City Health Department. 

As of Wednesday, the latest numbers for this year's flu season show 2,653 cases -- a full three times the number of cases compared to this time last year.

“Our numbers are based on people going to a medical provider getting a test and that test coming back positive. What we're basically seeing in children, adults, seniors... same percentages. It's just everywhere,” said Snook. 

Jackson County says their latest numbers show 1,604 cases. Across the state line in Johnson County, they’ve had 1,480 cases so far this season, compared to fewer than 200 this same time last year. 

Kansas City health officials say there have been three deaths in the city this season. They say a lot of the deaths around the state are coming from people with pre-existing conditions. 

“It can cause some life-threatening situations, whether you have pneumonia or another infection on top of it, because your immune system is so low," said Snook. "If you have pre-existing conditions, it can be very, very dangerous. So those people need to make sure they are on top of it and seeing their medical provider.”

You can see the state's data on the flu here