The occurrence of the flu in Red River Parish is as severe as in other parts of the state and nation. However an official of the Department of Public Health says it is not any less either.
Dr. Martha White is Regional Medical Director of 9 northwest Louisiana parishes, including Red River. She told The Journal, “About 11 percent of Doctors and Hospital Visits are due to the flu. It has not been that high since the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2008-09.”
“Louisiana is on track to have 600 to 700 deaths by the end of the flu season,” said Dr. White. “We’re not there yet, that is just a projection.” She added, “Many of the deaths that occur are the result of a complication in the form of pneumonia or other disease.”
About the current flu vaccine, Dr. White said, “The flu shot is 30 to 60 percent effective. Getting the shot will decrease the length of the illness and lessens the severity of the attack. A person who received the flu vaccine is less likely to get a secondary infection.”
Note: Red River Parish is in La region 7. The state health department report our region is as hard hit as any region in the state. The graphs published with this article show the rates of flu outbreak throughout the US. The Journal did not find a chart displaying only Louisiana data, however information reviewed leads to the conclusion that a similar rate of cases is occurring in this state.
Recently The Journal reported that the Red River Parish Health Unit has flu vaccine available for qualified recipients. Check with your physician or pharmacy concerning flu vaccine availability.