Aggressive flu season hits Louisiana

Shreveport, LA(KSLA)- The flu season has arrived with a vengeance, and every year, half a million people die from the Influenza virus around the world. Here in the United States, Louisiana is ranking very high already as this year's flu season unfolds.

The first confirmed cases of the flu in the Ark-La-Tex came on November 17th, and so did the warnings.

"It's going to spread during the next few weeks, and it's going to spread rapidly," said Dr. John Canchiere, Professor of Pediatrics at LSUHSC.

And the fear of rapid spread proved true because in the week of January 9th to the 15th, almost two months later, Louisiana topped the charts in CDC studies.

Just recently, the CDC named Louisiana among the 17 states with officially widespread flu activity. Logically, just one sneeze can spread the virus to anyone standing nearby.

The CDC says there are preventative measures you can still take.

"People need to go ahead and get the vaccine at this point; there's plenty of vaccine available and now's the time to do it," said David Martin Chief of Infectious Diseases division at LSUHSC.

Those vaccines are especially important in the northwest corner of the state.

According to the CDC,  the United States averages 36-thousand deaths a year from the flu and 200-thousand hospitalized.