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Unusually Late Peak to 2016 Flu Season


Influenza is peaking later than normal this year, with a surge of cases across Northeast Ohio in the past couple of weeks.

But WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports, if you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, don’t bother.

Summit County Medical Director Dr. Marguerite Erme says the health department has seen a later than normal increase in influenza activity, but she’s not too worried.

“While it’s unusual, if you look at the trends, I don’t think it’s too alarming,” says Erme.

If you've seen one influenza season, you've seen one influenza season. - Dr. Marguerite Erme

 She’s says the mild winter could have pushed the peak flu season into late March, with new cases continuing this month.

She says while it’s unusual to see flu cases into April, it’s not unheard of –

“I always say, ‘if you’ve seen one influenza season, you’ve seen one influenza season,’ because influenza is such a predictably unpredictable disease and each season is very much its own.”

Credit WKSU
Dr. Marguerite Erme is the Summit County Public Health Medical Director.

Erme says overall cases were down this year’s primarily because the flu vaccine was a good match for the virus, but for those who waited…

“It’s probably a little too late to get a flu shot. It takes about two weeks to get immunity to it.”

Erme does recommend that everyone receives a flu shot this fall.

Jeff is your average chemist turned radio host and reporter. He currently hosts middays on WKSU and has reported extensively on science, politics, business, and the environment.