ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Enough people have died in the U.S. so far this flu season to reach the epidemic level threshold set by the C.D.C. Even though health officials in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties have reported higher than usual flu cases this early in the season, there isn't reason to panic.
"Through Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital System, we have tested over 700 people have tested positive for flu A or B," said Nacogdoches Memorial Infection Prevention Manager Jeanne Harvey.
According to the C.D.C., Texas along with 21 states are at the widespread level, meaning most areas have seen flu activity.
"No reason for panic, and again the C.D.C. doesn't state that this is an epidemic; they're a few weeks ahead of the threshold of last year," said Sharon Shaw, Angelina Health District Administration. "We are nowhere near the numbers that we had in the whole season last year."
According to health officials, a likely cause for the higher number of cases is that the virus has mutated, making it harder for the immunization to work for everyone. Still, getting the shot is the best chance at protecting yourself from the flu.
"That's not a reason not to get the flu shot, it still carries 3 types of flu and an individual doesn't get to pick what type of flu they get so come out and get your flu shot," said Shaw. "Yes, it's not a perfect match but nothing's perfect in the field of science. Make sure you go out and get that flu shot to protect you and your family"
Health officials have urged children and the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions to get immunized immediately because they are more perceptive.
More than 1500 shots have been given out at the Angelina Health district but there are still 700 available. You can also get vaccinated at any of the Nacogodoches Memorial affiliated health clinics.