Here is a snapshot of flu activity in Kentucky and bordering states:
n Illinois: Intensive care unit hospitalizations and flu-related deaths surpass previous years and continue to climb, with 27 adult deaths so far. Eight Chicago-area hospitals turned away ambulances earlier this week because of a surge of patients with flu-like symptoms but that situation eased. Chicago’s health department encouraged vaccinations and held a flu chat Friday on Twitter; Mayor Rahm Emanuel tweeted a photo of himself holding a sign that said, “Any advice for people who shake a ton of hands? FluChicago.”
n Indiana: Flu is widespread in Indiana and deaths have climbed to 15 during what health officials call a “moderately severe” flu season. During the same period last year, no flu deaths were reported; two years ago there were two deaths. During the pandemic of the 2009-2010 flu season, there were 21 deaths by this time of the year. Two of this season’s deaths were in children younger than 18.
n Kentucky: Flu has been widespread in Kentucky for the past five weeks, which is earlier than usual. State authorities are not aware of any shortages and there have been no flu deaths in children.
n Missouri: Flu cases began in November in Missouri and authorities can’t tell if the season has peaked yet. Illness is widespread, and the state health department recommends that residents seeking flu shots should call ahead to make sure supplies are available. There have been no reported flu deaths in children.
n Ohio: There have been nearly 2,000 flu-related hospitalizations in Ohio since October, compared to 86 in last year’s unusually mild flu season, and 175 the previous season. One child has died from flu complications; there were no child deaths last season and only one the previous year. The state Health Department says there are sufficient supplies of vaccine available around the state.
n Tennessee: Dr. Kelly Moore, the medical director of the Tennessee Immunization Program, says the flu season seems worse than in recent years but that clinic reporting is often disrupted over the holidays, so whether cases are increasing or not is uncertain. “We’re not hearing reports of any hospitals being overwhelmed,” she said. One child has died from flu-related illness.
n Virginia: Virginia hit widespread influenza activity in December, a month or two early, which hasn’t happened since the 2003-2004 season. Outbreaks have been reported in schools and nursing homes in all regions of the state but no children have died.
n West Virginia. State public health officials say fewer than 1,400 cases of flu have been confirmed and flu-like symptoms are widespread. Public Health Commissioner Marian Swinker said Friday that more than 15,000 people have told doctors they were ill last month, with nearly 4,400 reporting they were sick so far this month. There have been no flu-related deaths in the state.
Compiled by AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner with reports from AP bureaus in all states.