Ward County among those with high number of flu cases

This map from the North Dakota Department of health shows the current number of flu cases in each county. Submitted Art

Ward County is one of the counties in North Dakota with 50-plus cases of the flu, the North Dakota Department of Health reports. Other area counties with 50-plus cases include Rolette, Benson, Williams and McKenzie.

Trinity Hospital and Trinity Homes, both in Minot, are closed to visitors with the exception of immediate family members only, said Mary Muhlbradt, a spokeswoman for Trinity. Children under 18 are not allowed to visit the two Trinity facilities as well as anyone with flu symptoms.

ManorCare Health Services in Minot is limiting visitors there to family members.

The current number of cases of flu in Ward and area counties is as follows:

– Ward, 345

– Williams, 280

– McKenzie and Rolette, 78 each

– Ramsey, 50

– Mercer, 49

– Mountrail, 47

– Wells, 42

– McLean, 40

– McHenry and Dunn, 37 each

– Bottineau, 34

– Divide, 30

– Burke and Pierce, 22 each

– Eddy, 16

– Towner, 15

– Foster, 12

– Renville, 11

– Sheridan, 10

Billings County is the only county in the state currently with no cases.

North Dakota had 816 cases of flu reported for the week ending Jan. 27, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

The number of cumulative cases for the season is 4,161.

The numbers are preliminary and may change pending investigation, according to Health Department officials.

Flu indicators for the week ending Jan. 27 were similar to the previous week, with the weekly case count increasing only slightly, the Health Department information reports.

“We continue to see widespread activity and outbreaks across the state,” according to the information edited by Jill Baber, epidemiologist with the Health Department’s Disease Control.

“Our influenza A case count declined slightly for week four, but was made up for by an increase in influenza B cases,” she said.

Take preventative actions to avoid the flu

The flu is widespread in North Dakota. Do you know what to do to protect yourself and others from influenza – the flu?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in Atlanta provides the following information:

Step One

Flu vaccine

® Take time to get a flu vaccine.

Step Two

Preventive actions to stop spread of germs

® Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

® Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

® Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

® Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

® Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

® While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

® If you are sick with flu symptoms, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

Step 3

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

® If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.

® Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

® Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

® Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

– Source: CDC website