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Oregon Flu Season Continues Despite Tapering

<p>Todd Nelson, right, gets a flu shot from nurse Nicole Simpson at the Salvation Army in Atlanta, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.</p>

David Goldman

Todd Nelson, right, gets a flu shot from nurse Nicole Simpson at the Salvation Army in Atlanta, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.

At the flu season's peak in January, 35 percent of flu tests in Oregon were coming back positive.

That figure now stands at about 17 percent.

Dr. Ann Thomas, with the Oregon Public Health Division, said the flu season starts at the 10 percent mark. 

“We’re still above that 10 percent, so there is still flu circulating," Thomas said. "So I think it’s wise to be covering your cough and washing your hands quite a bit, trying to stay home if you’re sick, all those kinds of precautions."

This year's flu season has been significantly worse than years past. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 114 children died and more than 23,000 Americans were hospitalized.

Vaccine reduced the risk of having the flu by about 36 percent. That’s a relatively low efficacy rate. But significantly higher than the 10 percent Australians experienced this season.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.