CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – If need to go to a hospital emergency room this weekend expect to see a crowd.
The flu epidemic of 2018 can be blamed for most of it and weather related incidents come in second.
The Centers for Disease control says this year’s flu epidemic is one of the most severe in recent years.
According to its latest report, the flu is widespread in all states except Hawaii.
Fourteen thousand new laboratory-confirmed cases were reported for the week ending January 13th.
It will come as no surprise that Tennessee and Georgia are among the states most affected.
PATRICK JOHNSON, R.N., MEMORIAL CHI, DIR. CLINICAL OPERATIONS “Flu season at Memorial has been very impactful. We’ve seen a higher prevalence of flu this year, than we’ve seen in year’s past, probably 30% of our patients that come in our EED each day have been diagnosed with the flu or have flu like symptoms.”
Johnson says he’s been a Memorial Hospital for 11 years and this year’s outbreak is the worst he’s seen.
Some wonder, is it the vaccine that’s being used this year?
“The vaccine that they shared this year has only been 10-30% effective as one of the contributing factors, um, there’s’ also lots of theories out there, but it’s also throughout the country that we’ve seen that.”
At Erlanger Medical Center , Dr. Marvin Culbertson says even if it’s not perfect—you need to get the shot–even now.
“It is helpful in many cases and it’s still strongly recommended even now, influenza vaccinations help prevent influenza, and if you do get ill with influenza, help prevent the severity and duration of the illness.”
Both physicians stress that those with other serious illnesses ranging from COPD to Kidney disease need the vaccine the most.
In the meantime, tri-state residents may remember 2018 as the year when at least one member of the family caught the flu.