Flu outbreak delayed in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flu outbreak delayed in Dubuque

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids saw their first case of the flu this week. The Iowa Department of Public Health says there have now been 66 confirmed cases of the flu this year. While, last year by this time, our state had seen more than 300 cases.

It happens every year; doctors offices and hospitals fill with patients with flu like symptoms. But this year is different than last.

"We haven't had the large number of cases but we have had cases, more sporadic," said Dr. John P. Viner of the Dubuque County Board of Health.

January 31st, 2008, Dr. Viner placed a visitation restriction on local hospitals.

"When we can detect the epidemic in the community we then try to protect our hospitalized by restricting visitation. We haven't hit that trigger point so far this year," said Viner.

Currently no restrictions are in place. And that means there isn't a threat of an outbreak, for now. Doctors say cases are classified as sporadic -- but they also say we aren't in the clear just yet.

"It was a heavy year last year, this year maybe we're going to see less, just be aware, even a mild year means a lot of people are sick," said Viner.

He also says they continue to monitor physicians, clinic test, emergency departments and school absenteeism -- all to help determine an outbreak.

As for the cause of the delay this year. Viner says no one knows for sure. But since it hasn't hit. He says there's still time to get vaccinated.

"It's never to late to roll up your sleeve," he said.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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