Currently, influenza is classified as a non-reportable disease, meaning that it does not have to be reported to the local Medical Officer of Health. The only time it must be reported is when a child under 18 dies from it.
"Because of its classification, it can be hard to have data on the flu," Steven Childers, a registered nurse at the Ford County Health Department said in an interview Monday. "However, I do know of one case of influenza A this season."
Childers said that the flu is even harder to track because most people will try and treat the flu on their own, without seeing a doctor and confirming that what they have is in fact the flu.
Not having data on the flu is actually a good thing, it means that there isn't an outbreak in this area, and people are staying healthy.
Just because there's only been one reported case so far however, doesn’t mean Ford County residents are safe just yet. Childers stresses that it's still important to wash hands thoroughly, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, avoid close contact with those that are sick. If you do get the flu, stay home from work or school to avoid getting others sick and to get a flu vaccine if you haven't yet.
Although there are still several months of 'flu season' left, so far this year there have been slightly more visits to Influenza-like Illness (ILI) Net Sites (this can be any heath care facility that treats the flu) than in previous years. This is looking at data from across the state. This data and other information about influenza is available at http://www.kdheks.gov/flu/surveillance.htm.
"Although we've only had one reported case of the flu in Ford County, there's probably been more cases that just haven't been reported," Childers said. "I think this one case is just the tip of the iceberg, and people need to continue to take care of themselves throughout the season so they don't get sick."