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Dallas County Flu Cases Subsiding

Health

A woman suffers from the flu | Image by MedLine Plus

The flu season in Dallas County seems to be subsiding.

After flu cases in December started to decline, dropping from 1,245 at the beginning of the month to less than 500 by the end, they started to tick up again at the beginning of this month. The most recently reported data states that on the week ending January 7, there were a total of only 270 cases.

The percentage of positive cases to negative ones also declined significantly from the beginning to the end of December, falling from 14.4% to 5.6%.

In addition to the high amount of flu illnesses, Dr. Philip Huang, the county health department director, said that “there are other respiratory viruses that are also out there, so we can’t let up our guard.”

This has been the first winter without widespread COVID-19 precautions, such as masking and social distancing, which seems to have contributed to the uptick in flu, COVID, and respiratory syncytial viruses.

This year, Dallas faced a rather severe flu season, with a total number of 10,234 positive cases from October 2, 2022 to January 7, 2023. This was a significant increase from last year’s flu season, which also ended much earlier. From September 26, 2021 to November 13, 2021, there were only 82 total confirmed flu cases.

There has been only one confirmed death caused by the flu in Dallas County this flu season. The death occurred during the week ending November 26, which had the highest number of flu cases.

Despite the hope that flu cases will only be going down from here, health officials are warning residents to continue to be careful, as this flu season has been especially unpredictable.

Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist with UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, told The Dallas Morning News, “There have been years where we’ve seen a decrease and then a second wave. Nobody can predict whether that’s going to happen or not.”

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 and RSV have been declining, but according to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the number of total positive COVID-19 cases has become harder to track, as people are either not testing or testing at home.

The most recent data, reported on January 18, stated that there were 2,153 new cases. As of January 21, the seven-day count was 308 new cases per day.

Texas does not report RSV count data, as laboratories are not required to report the number of those cases. Some laboratories do release this data, however, and according to these reports, RSV cases are also on the decline.

Cases of the flu, RSV, and other illnesses can be much more severe among obese patients, whose immune responses are impaired. Dallas-Fort Worth has one of the highest rates of obesity of any major metro area in the country, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

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