The 2018-19 flu season appears to be off to an early start in North Dakota, with the State Health Department reporting 223 flu cases as of Oct. 27, compared to just 35 reported at the same time last year. Most cases are centered in the Lake Region area of northeast North Dakota.
Trinity Health infectious disease specialist Casmiar Nwaigwe, MD, says the early spike in cases should give North Dakotans just the incentive they need to get vaccinated. “It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing more cases locally,” he said. “We all travel and bring microorganisms back with us.”
Whether the early flu activity means we’re in for a rough flu season like last year depends on when the current season peaks. On the other hand, Dr. Nwaigwe says, “If people fear a bad season and we see mass vaccinations, cases could drop off quickly.”