Influenza epidemic found in Northern Louisiana


With the death toll rising throughout the nation due to this year’s Influenza epidemic outbreak, the flu season is far from over and with February around the corner raises concerns. The flu season typically varies from year to year and lasts around three months; however, its peak points can be in January or February in the United States.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2012-2013 flu season started early compared to past seasons. By Friday, Jan. 11 the nation’s flu activity was relatively high. Nine out of 10 region of the U.S. reported to have high activity of the flu in the CDC reports. The CDC also said, “Influenza has reached epidemic proportions in the United States with 7.3 percent of deaths last week caused by pneumonia and the flu.” 

Up to date in the Ruston area, Region C of the Green Clinic located on Farmerville Hwy has tested around 1000 Flu swabs from Sept. 1, only 30 perfect of the swabs tested positive. Majority of the swabs contained Strain A while the rest were Strain B of the Influenza Virus. Strain A of the virus is more severe than B according to Registered Nurse Becky Murphy, who as been with Region C for 24 years. 

According to Murphy and Medical Doctor, Dr. Sedo Tamakloe of Internal Medicine in Region C the flu vaccine reduces the chances of getting contaminated by the virus by 60 percent. 

After the shot is given there is a two-week incubation period, said Tamakloe. The incubation period is the amount of time it takes for the vaccine to be affected and work, so one can contradict the virus within the incubation period.  “If you unfortunately get a shot and you come into contact within two weeks who has it you may get the Flu,” said Tamakloe

 If a patient is tested positive for either strains of the virus, the drug of choice for treatment is called Tamaflu. The antiviral works efficiently by preventing the flu virus from reproducing inside the human’s body. “We can’t say it is cured for 100 percent, but yes a very good amount is treated well with Tamaflu,” said Dr. Sedo.    To prevent chances of getting the flu vaccinated of not, Dr. Sedo recommends to, “Basic hand washing and do not get in contact with anyone who has the sniffles.”

According to Murphy when a large amount of people who come in contact with each other such as colleges, nursing homes and children in kindergarten have the highest chance of getting the flu. “Ya’ll are very together, you get a group of people that are in such close quarters having a higher risk,” she said.

Since the United States epidemic, local Ruston pharmacies such as Rite Aid have ran out of flu shots on Tuesday according to Pharmacist Sharon Korn. 

“We are supposed to be getting some in next week,” said Korn. 

With insurance the Flu shots are free at any Green Clinic or local doctor, but at pharmacies as Rite Aid the vaccine cost $29.99.