Influenza is spreading quickly in Kentucky, raising the threat of a “triple-demic” of flu, Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
The state Department for Public Health’s most recent report says 2,082 flu cases were confirmed during the week that ended Nov. 5. That was 140% more the previous week, and case numbers the week before were more than triple the previous week. All told, 3,342 cases have been confirmed, and that does not include at-home tests.
There were eight confirmed cases in Spencer County in the week mentioned above, with a total of 16 so far in the 2022-23 season.
Most of the cases have been in Kentuckians 20 and younger. Many school districts have closed schools or moved to nontraditional instruction for a few days.
Last Monday, 25 of the 171 public districts did; the following day was Election Day, when most were scheduled to be closed anyway for voting.
“More than 100,000 Kentucky students have been sent home this month, and health professionals are warning more closures are likely, saying there is a strong possibility of a “tripledemic” this winter,” reports Krista Johnson of the Louisville Courier Journal. “For the past two years, safety measures related to Covid-19 have kept influenza and RSV case numbers low, but hospitalizations due to these viruses are increasing.”
The state has confirmed one death from the flu, in an adult.
The flu is getting off to a faster start than usual. The percentage of clinic visits resulting in reports of influenza-like illnesses is higher than it has been in any of the last four years, according to a health department graph.