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Flu still circulates in North Dakota

The flu season might be winding down just a bit - however the state health department says that doesn't mean you are protected from the flu.

Jill Baber is an influenza epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health and says  as of last week, there were 2-thousand 8-hundred and 66 cases of the flu in North Dakota.  She says right now there is a slight decrease in reported flu cases - but that could still change.

"I think we might be on the downswing - however, that might change because children are back in school now, so it's possible that the decrease may have been due to children not being in school and not spreading flu around.  So for the next could of weeks I expect that influenza activity could start to decrease, but I still think we'll see a lot of cases.  It's important to remember that we're seeing a lot of activity right now, so, even though influenza activity might be decreasing it's decreasing from a significant amount. So there's still going to be a lot of flu going around."

There are currently 957 confirmed cases of flu in children under the age of ten, making that age group the most prolific for widespread flu in the state.  But Baber says that the elderly aged 60 and over are the most at-risk for the flu.  So far there are 7 confirmed deaths from  influenza in North Dakota and all were over the age of 60.  Baber says it is quite possible for the 2009 H1N1 strain to show up this flu season, but that strain IS in this year's flu vaccine.  And Baber says as long as the flu is circulating, it's never too late to get that flu shot.

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