It’s flu season in Wyoming, but public health officials aren’t ready to make a determination about its severity.
“This is probably too early for us to put a real characterization on this season,” Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti said.
However, people are still coming down with the mostly seasonal virus that causes fever, coughing, fatigue and other undesirable symptoms.
“We are seeing activity across the state,” Deti said. “I don’t know if it’s at widespread levels yet.”
The state Health Department sends out reports on the flu season throughout the winter, giving county and other local public health agencies a general view of the virus’s severity. The latest one from state epidemiologist Reginald McClinton gave a mixed review of the season so far.
McClinton said overall flu activity has been slow, but some areas of the state have seen significant activity. The report doesn’t specify which areas are seeing higher levels of the virus.
Teton County School District No. 1 saw an uptick in absences ahead of the holiday break, but it’s tough to say whether that indicates increased flu activity. Information coordinator Charlotte Reynolds said parents are able to excuse their own children by calling the school, and they aren’t required to offer a reason, so it’s nearly impossible to tell if those absences are due to illness or holiday travel.
But at least some were due to the flu.
“I do know that at end of this past week,” Reynolds said, “we had a number of students and staff out with confirmed cases.”
Though overall activity is still low, one peculiarity of the season is a high number of B viruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal outbreaks, though A strains are the only ones known to cause pandemics, and they are more common in the early part of flu season.
The CDC’s weekly flu report says the nation is seeing the same trend as Wyoming, with more B viruses being reported.
“That is not typical for this part of the season,” Deti said.