Influenza Cases are on the Rise in North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health says there are about 2,520 cases reported so far this season

FARGO, N.D. — We’re in the middle of the flu season and this year, we’re seeing an even larger number of people infected with the virus in the state of North Dakota.

“Right now, influenza is widespread across North Dakota,” said Jill Baber, the Influenza Surveillance Coordintor at the North Dakota Department of Health. “We have had about 2,520 cases reported to us at the health department. These are only lab confirmed cases, so people who were tested flu and a lot of people aren’t, so we know this is a really big underestimate.”

“We’re seeing a tremendous increase in our flow of people with influenza,” Dr. Curt Nyhus, the Sanford Urgent Care Clinic Department Head added. “The stats are going to say one thing but the truth is, multiply it by about four.”

According to the North Dakota Department of Health, the number of influenza cases reported this year is already more than five times higher than the number of cases reported last season.

That’s because the virus hit earlier.

“This year, it even hit before Thanksgiving in a lot of places, so that just made it that much worse,” Baber said. “So definitely, when you have a lot of influenza circulation at a time when people are mixing, going to social gatherings, seeing other people that just exacerbates the problem.”

But that’s not the only factor.

“I think it’s partly in that the flu vaccine wasn’t as effective as in prior years,” Nyhus said. “They have to try and predict which strain will emerge based on their research and they obviously didn’t really hit it good this year with the strain that’s really affecting a lot of people.”

Dr. Nyhus says he does still recommend getting your flu shots because it’s always the best way to prevent it.

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