LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State health officials have confirmed the first cases of influenza in Michigan during the 2013-2014 flu season and are encouraging people to get flu shots.
According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, the four cases of the contagious respiratory illness are the first identified by a state lab this flu season.
“Each year, we expect the first influenza cases to appear in the fall and this year has proven to be no different,” James K. Haveman, director of the MDCH, said in a statement Wednesday. “We continue to encourage all Michigan citizens to get vaccinated as it is the single best way to prevent the flu.”
The department said the illnesses occurred in children and adults from two southeast Michigan counties. Three of the cases have been confirmed as influenza A (H1N1) 2009 viruses and one has been confirmed as being an influenza A (H3N2) virus.
Two of the cases were in Oakland County, north of Detroit, officials said. Flu shots that cost $20 are available at the Oakland County Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield from noon to 8 p.m. Mondays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
“The sooner you get the flu shot the better,” said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager and health officer. “It takes a couple weeks after the vaccination for the body to shield itself against the flu.”
According to Michigan health officials, it’s too early to tell what influenza viruses will circulate or how severe the influenza season may be.
Michigan’s flu activity will be reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “sporadic.” That’s the second lowest of five categories the federal government tracks. Nationally, a mix of sporadic influenza viruses has been detected during the past month.