Flu Outbreak Possibly Headed to Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/13/02

Flu Outbreak Possibly Headed to Lubbock

"The flu spreads pretty fast of course it spreads person to person," says Texas Department of Health, Manager of Disease and Control Prevention, Barry Wilson. The type of flu spreading through Texas now is impacting schools left and right. it's called Influenza B. Wilson says it's highly contagious.

Since Thanksgiving more than a dozen districts have been shut down at one time or another. Clean up took place on Friday in one East Texas school. The outbreak nearest to Lubbock was reported Friday in Coahoma, about 95 miles south of the Hub City, and just east of Big Spring.

"The type of flu that we're seeing is unusual," says Wilson. Influenza B has not been seen for about 11 years, kids today do not have any natural immunity to it. Nurse Shannon Davis says so far, Cooper schools haven't seen anything out of the ordinary. "Overall as a district we're probably sending 7 or 8 kids home with flu like symptoms a day," she says.

The flu outbreak may or may not head Lubbock's way. In the meantime, Davis says she wants to encourage parents to immunize their kids and take precaution. "The basic thing you can teach your kids is good hand washing. Good hand washing practices in general," says Davis. Because the flu is an extremely common illness, the Texas Department of Health says it is not commonly reported.

Officials say a Hong Kong strain of influenza might be to blame for the outbreak. The strain hasn't been detected in the US since 1991. If you want to know where you can get a flu shot and how much they cost call the City of Lubbock Health Department at (806) 775-2933 .

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