Valley doctors continue to see increase in flu cases

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- People have been so worried about COVID that they might not realize that rundown feeling, cough or fever is actually the flu.

Valley doctors say influenza cases started to spike in March and haven't stopped.

"Just consistently going up and up and up, different from when we had the omicron surge," says Dr. Dee Lacy.

Dr. Lacy is an infectious disease specialist with Kaiser Permanente Fresno.

She expected more people would get infected with different viruses once the statewide mask mandate was lifted and people started to gather in large groups again.

"All of those things that we are enjoying because they're allowing us to return to more normal life increase our risk to all respiratory viruses," she said.

Surprisingly, school-age kids are behind this flu surge.

"It's not the typical older folks that we usually associated with influenza coming in to get their care in the emergency department," says Fresno County Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra. "This is actually being driven by the 0-17 age group, so it seems to be something that could really set off outbreaks in schools."

Dr. Vohra reminds parents to keep their kids home if they are sick.

We asked Dr. Lacy if the rising case rate could indicate this year's flu vaccine has not been effective or if it might be a case of not enough people getting vaccinated.

"We don't yet know if the vaccine is effective," she said. "They usually tell us that at the end of the season."
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