Iowa flu cases up, experts not sure yet if it will be a bad season

By  | 

CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Iowa is seeing more flu cases compared to this same time last year.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said there have been 199 cases this flu season. Last flu season, at this point in the year, there were just 32 cases. Researchers said they are watching this, but they aren't ready to say this will be a bad flu season. They said the flu season's peak is still coming.

Mercy Hospital in Iowa City said there has been some misinformation about how this year's flu shot is just 10 percent effective. The Iowa Department of Public Health said it is actually around 32 percent effective, but that is down from last year.

The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa said the cases they've seen have flu strains that are in this year's vaccine. A supervisor said it's too early to tell if it will be a bad flu season.

"We are seeing more positives in the season than we were last year at this time but we still haven't peaked so it's hard to say where we're going to end up," said Jeff Benfer, a supervisor for molecular biology and virology at the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa.

Benfer said getting the flu shot every year can improve people's immune system in the long run. He said people should take the usual precautions like washing hands and covering your mouth.