Updated 1:58 pm
By TONY LEYS • firstname.lastname@example.org • February 4, 2010
Iowa’s annual bout with seasonal flu has finally started, two months later than usual.
The Iowa Department of Public Health announced this afternoon that the state had its first confirmed case of the disease this winter.
In the past five years, seasonal flu has shown up in Iowa between Nov. 2 and Dec. 10. By now, the seasonal-flu wave is usually in full swing.
The disease’s tardy arrival has stirred hopes that the state could have a mild run of seasonal flu. But officials warned that the illnesses still could spike in the coming weeks.
“It’s not too late to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza, and it’s especially important for those with risk factors including heart diseases, lung diseases, diabetes, women who are pregnant, and the very young and very old,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist, said in a press release. Most people recover fairly easily from the flu, but some can face deadly complications.
The health department said the first seasonal-flu case involved a Story County woman in her 30s, with no medical conditions that would make her susceptible to complications.
In the past year, the state already has been through two waves of H1N1 flu, a new virus that appeared last spring. That virus sickened thousands of Iowans and killed 41, and it still is present in the state.