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Flu Sends More Central Ohioans To Local Hospitals

The current Influenza season got off to an early start according to Ohio health officials. Flu season usually peaks in January or February but a significant number of cases were recorded in December and the numbers continue to rise. State health officials on Thursday confirmed an Ohio child had died of influenza, but would not provide further details. In Ohio, 1,200 people have been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms; a quarter of those people are in Franklin County. The Columbus Public Health Department’s Doctor Mysheika Williams Roberts says the numbers are dramatically higher than last season’s. “As of January 5th we had 293 hospitalizations here in Franklin County related to flu-like illness,â€? Roberts says. “Putting that into perspective in 2011, we had nine cases.â€? Doctor Roberts says it’s hard to tell why there’s such a huge increase. But she does say that the virulent H3N2 strain of flu that’s so prevalent now can be avoided if people would get a flu shot. “We’re seeing a virus that is circulating in our community as well as across the nation that has a history of making people pretty sick. But the good news is we have a vaccine that does protect us against that very virulent strain,â€? Roberts says. Roberts says everyone above the age of six months should be vaccinated.