According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the number of reported influenza cases has recently started to decline, including in Pettis County.

For the week ending February 3 there were 12,727 reported cases, for the week ending February 10 there were 11,360 reported cases and for the week ending February 17 there were 7,289 reported cases.

A press release from the Pettis County Health Center says the county has seen a similar decline. For the week ending February 3, there were 263 reported cases. The the week ending February 10, there were 282 reported cases, and for the week ending February 17, there were 129 reported cases. During this year’s influenza season, at total of 1,229 influenza cases have been reported to the Pettis County Health Center.

The Health Center says the statistics may not fully report the burden of influenza in the county, as the reports received by the Health Center only include those cases where an individual sought medical care and testing was completed. Many individuals do not seek medical care and as the season progresses, not all health care providers test for influenza. When influenza is known to be in the county, treating the symptoms is considered appropriate care. In addition to influenza there are a number of other respiratory viruses in the community that are causing symptoms of lingering cough, nasal congestion, sore throat and low grade fever, according to the press release. The difference is influenza generally starts quickly with fever, sore throat, cough, and muscle aches, while a cold may start more gradually and include nasal congestion.

The Pettis County Health Center says that though the peak appears to be passing, the viruses that cause influenza are still circulating in the area and the precautions to protect yourself from influenza are still important. Wash your hands, stay home if you are ill, seek medical attention if your symptoms get worse, particularly if you have trouble breathing or a fever returns and check on friends and neighbors.

Individuals with chronic health conditions should limit exposure to crowds and some people feel more comfortable wearing a mask. The Health Center says it is not too late to get a vaccine for influenza. The Pettis County Health Center has a limited supply and recommends checking with other providers if you still need a vaccine.

For more information, call the Pettis County Health Center at 660-827-1130.

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