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Flu off to fast start in Kentucky, as cases keep more than doubling each week; flu, Covid-19 and RSV threaten a ‘triple-demic’

State Dept. for Public Health map, adapted by Ky. Health News; county figures are online here.
Last week’s cases will
be reported on Friday.

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

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 percent more the 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.

 

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.

Kentucky Department for Public Health graphs

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.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Kentucky.ILI means influenza-like illnesses; MMWR is the CDC’s 

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