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Before Flu Season Peaks, Recent Cases Prove Ideal Time to Vaccinate

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2012

LANSING - It's not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. In recent weeks, the Michigan Department of Community Health's (MDCH) Bureau of Laboratories has seen an increase in the number of confirmed cases of influenza. In light of these cases, getting vaccinated today will protect you before influenza peaks and throughout the season.

"The recent cases of flu serve as a reminder for Michiganders to get their flu vaccine - before the flu season peaks," said Olga Dazzo, Director of the MDCH. "We encourage all Michigan citizens to get vaccinated as it truly is the single best way to protect you and your loved ones from getting the flu."

MDCH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. Being that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body's immune response to fully kick in, the sooner the vaccine is given, the better your chance of protection.

Based on information from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, none of the individuals with confirmed flu cases received this season's flu vaccine. The seasonal influenza viruses that have been submitted to CDC so far are well-matched to the virus strains in the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine. If this continues to be the case, this season's vaccine should provide good protection to help protect individuals from influenza illness and serious complications resulting from influenza infections.

It is especially important that people at high risk of serious flu complications get vaccinated. So far in Michigan, over half of the cases have been in children. Children, especially those younger than 2 years of age, are at higher risk of serious flu complications such as hospitalization and death. Other high risk group individuals include pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

Vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. In addition, there are some everyday steps people can take to stop the spread of influenza, including practicing good cough etiquette, washing hands frequently and staying at home when sick. For more information about the flu, visit www.michigan.gov/flu.

There is plenty of flu vaccine available throughout the state and doctors' offices can still order flu vaccine if needed. Locations where the vaccine is being administered include doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools. Find a flu vaccination clinic near you today with the flu vaccine finder at www.flu.gov.

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