Flu cases on the rise in Orlando area

2 flu-related deaths reported in Central Florida this season

By Matt Petrillo - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The number of flu cases is up sharply this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The high activity is affecting at least 26 states, including Florida.

The Orlando area has seen a few deaths, according to state health officials, who worry the death toll could rise since the number of flu cases is increasing.

"I'm telling you, I do infection disease," said Dr. Antonio Crespo with Orlando Health. "And I don't get scared about a lot of things. I do get scared about the flu because I see people dying from the flu."

Doctors think the increase in flu cases may be in part because the flu vaccine may be less effective than usual this season. The CDC says it's usually 50 percent effective. This year the flu shot is about 32 percent effective. 

"People have to remember, that when the scientists invent the vaccine, the flu shot, they try to predict what is going to be the strain that circulate that season," Crespo said. "So it's a guessing game."

In Central Florida, two deaths already can be attributed to the flu, according to Kent Donahue with the Florida Health Department.

His message: "Even right now, it's not too late to get your flu vaccine, your flu shot, it does protect you," Kent said. 

Kent also recommends people wash their hands with soap and water often and stay home if they're sick. 

The peak season for the flu usually happens in February, Kent said. 

Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.