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Flu activity in area remains high
Influenza activity may be in decline across the country, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control flu surveillance report, but the highly contagious virus has hit Porterville hard.
“Last week we had a flu blast,” said local pediatrician Ramon Resa. “It has hit Porterville and its children.”
Resa said that on Monday of last week he treated 80 children for what he believes is the flu and said he and his staff have been working as late as possible to get every child taken care of.
“I’m calling it the flu,” Resa said. “Children come in with a lot of different things but they’re coming in complaining about being achy and kids don’t complain about being achy unless they have the flu.”
Amy Martinez, nurse for the Burton School District, said schools have definitely seen a spike in absences.
“We’ve seen probably twice as many kids out as normal for the same period last year,” Martinez said. “We would have 18 to 20 students out on a heavy sick day and now we’re having about 40; almost double the number of students.”
In speaking with some parents, many students have presented flu-type symptoms and are being prescribed medication to treat the illness, Martinez said. The viral infection, she said, knocks students out for three to four days.
Martinez said last week was not as heavy as the prior week and said she expects the downward trend to continue.
“I would anticipate we’re going to see less this week and next week even more,” she said.
Ramona Contreras, spokesperson for Sierra View District Hospital, said hospital officials believe the worst is not over.
“We do not see that it is declining in our area. There are still individuals presenting to the ER with flu symptoms,” Contreras said. “We don’t believe that the worst is over. Our flu season generally runs until the end of April. We’re still seeing cases present to the ER.”
The charge nurse at the local hospital’s emergency room on Monday said she has seen several patients present with symptoms that are middle-aged, between ages 40 and 50, Contreras said.
Though the CDC’s latest FluView report released two weeks ago said it was likely influenza-like illness had peaked in the U.S., Contreras said SVDH officials believe locally, the season has not peaked yet, due to the number of patients still going through the ER.
Resa, who began his private-practice in Porterville more than 25 years ago, said that while flu activity in the area remains active, it’s nothing to fret about.
“Have I seen worse? Yes, I have. This is not too big of a deal,” he said.
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, Ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.