United Regional Flu Cases On the Rise

Doctors at United Regional say the first flu case that tested positive came just after Thanksgiving.

And since then, the hospital has experienced a crowded emergency room with some people admitted.

United Regional's emergency room has been busy with flu patients for more than one month.

"Our first positive case here at the hospital was November 28th and we've seen about 112 cases since then that are positive. Not all are admissions. The majority go home," says Dr. John Hilmi, chairman and emergency room medical director at United Regional.

And Dr. Hilmi says the few who have been hospitalized are mostly elderly.

But one thing he says he has noticed; the seasonal flu started biting during and after the holiday season.

"Before the holidays I believe it was somewhere in the mid-20 number of states that were reporting it. After all the travel from the holidays, it's now spread all over the entire country. So, obviously travel has a big deal to do with it," says Dr. Hilmi.

But the type of flu strain has a lot a lot to do with the large number of people who are suffering.

"This year they isolated the right strain and more people are getting the flu so the hope is that it won't be as severe as in 2003-2004. That year, in particular, there were 48,000 deaths from the flu and we're hoping that's not going to be the case this year," explains Dr. Hilmi.

So far, Dr. Hilmi says from November 28th though today, United Regional has had 112 positive flu cases.

That compares to last flu season when the total number of positive cases was 132 and two years ago when 114 positive flu cases were treated there.

United Regional is not the only place with a packed waiting room.

Officials at Clinics of North Texas say their have been swamped treating patients complaining of flu-like symptoms.

While at the Wichita County Health Department, nurses have been busy administering flu shots, which health officials say is not too late to get.

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