LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Compared to recent years, the 2019-2020 flu season in Clark County is off to an alarming start as the Southern Nevada Health District records the area’s first flu-related death in just the fifth week of reporting.
According to SNHD records, a senior Clark County resident died from flu-related during the week of Oct. 27 to Nov. 2.
Already there have been 64 cases of the flu in Clark County, a striking increase compared to the same time last year when there were only 12 cases and no deaths through the first five weeks of the season.
Those 64 cases, including the one death, came in just three weeks after the first two weeks of the season saw no reported cases.
A spokesperson with the SNHD says that it is still too early to predict how severe the season will be, though the flu season usually peaks after Jan. 1, saying that the flu vaccine is, as always this time of year, highly recommended for everyone at least six months old, especially those most at-risk like pregnant women who are twice as likely to become hospitalized if they get the flu.
Getting vaccinated can reduce the risk of contracting the flu by 40 to 60 percent. Still, according to a National Foundation for Infectious Diseases survey, little more than 50 percent of adults say they plan to get the flu shot this season.
In recent history, one of the forecasters for predicting the severity of the flu season has been the harshness of Australia’s flu season. For instance, in 2017 Australia had the worst outbreak of the flu it’s seen in the last two decades, and the U.S. followed suit with arguably its worst ever with 79,000 deaths nationwide.
Comparing 2017 and 2019 numbers, Clark County has already seen more than double the amount of flu cases and flu-related hospitalizations.