Flu cases are rampant in North Texas, and doctors are unsure why.
Cook Children’s Medical Center reported that 800 patients tested positive for the flu last week. The facility’s beds are full, and the wait times are especially long due to this outbreak.
This past week alone, Dallas County reported an increase of 18% in flu cases, with 133 new hospitalizations.
From October 1 to November 19, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported over 4,300 positive test results for the flu in Dallas County.
Most importantly, these recent figures are a far cry from those seen last year. In 2021, from September 26 to November 13, there was a total of 82 positive flu test results in Dallas County.
Dr. Andrea Berry, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told CNBC that this discrepancy could, in part, be due to this year being the first flu season in two years in which most people are no longer taking COVID-19 precautions.
Some doctors also speculate that people’s suspicion surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine has extended to the flu shot, resulting in fewer people getting their seasonal flu shots this year.
According to Dr. Beth Kassanoff-Piper of the Dallas County Medical Society, this has exacerbated the recent flu outbreak.
“I think the COVID hesitancy and then the frustration with multiple COVID vaccines, I think that’s bled over into the flu shot, who every year have consistently gotten their flu show some of them have either not gotten around to it or maybe gotten complacent about it,” she said.
Whatever its cause, medical professionals are mobilizing to curb the outbreak.
Christian Grisales of Dallas County Health and Human Services told CBS, “This is something that isn’t going to go away just by not doing something, by not taking action. … That’s why we are doubling down our efforts to bring the vaccine to the community.”
This past Thursday and Friday, Dallas County Health and Human Services organized pop-up vaccine drive-thrus.
Kassanoff-Piper continues to encourage people to get the flu shot, even this late in the season. She especially urges those over age 65 to get it, as the flu can be fatal to older individuals.
She also urges those who test positive for the flu or are feeling sick to stay home.