By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — There were 855 new cases of the flu confirmed in Winnebago County from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, bringing this year’s total to 3,452, according to the health department’s latest Weekly Influenza Activity Summary.
The report shows that that were 655 confirmed cases of Influenza A (H3N2) from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, and 195 cases of Influenza B.
Influenza A (H3N2) commonly originates in wild birds and spreads among humans very quickly. Symptoms can be serious and result in devastating outbreaks.
Influenza B is less common and mutates much slower than Type A. While it does not typically cause pandemics, Type B can spread through schools, offices and other public spaces.
Breaking down the combined cases by Rockford zip code, there were 404 confirmed in 61108. In 61107, there were 353, and 322 in 61109.
That is why county officials recommend using the “three Cs” to prevent the spread of both types of the flu: Clean your hands; Cover your cough and Contain your germs.
“Stay home if you’re sick,” Winnebago County Health Department spokesperson Theresa James said.
James said the county is in the middle of flu season, which commonly runs from late fall to spring. Officials say it started earlier than usual this year, making its peak difficult to pinpoint.
In Illinois this year, there have been roughly 1,000 hospital admissions because of the flu; nearly 200 people have been admitted to intensive care. One child has died.
The flu has been blamed for more than 50 pediatric deaths throughout the United States this season. R.