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Galveston County Health District - Providing Credible Service since 1971

 

1207 Oak Street La Marque, Texas 77568 - Phone - 409-938-7221

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Mailing address:
PO Box 939
La Marque, TX  77568
Public Health
Information Services
Phone: 409-938-2211
Fax:
409-938-2243

Galveston County Ready For Flu Season

By Robert Stanton
The Houston Chronicle
November 29, 2007

The first confirmed case of the flu this season has been reported in Galveston County, but health officials are telling residents that it's not too late to get vaccinated. 

Kurt Koopmann, spokesman for the Galveston County Health District, said the case was reported at an area hospital. The flu season runs from October through May. 

During that period, the health department reports all confirmed flu cases at its clinics to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Koopmann said. 

Last year, the first confirmed case in the county was not reported until Dec. 9, with only nine documented for the entire flu season. 

On average, the health department reports about 16 flu cases each year at its clinics in Galveston, Dickinson and Texas City. 

But getting a handle on the total number of flu cases countywide is difficult because reporting is not mandatory, Koopmann said. 

"It's voluntary reporting, so it probably doesn't completely and accurately report the number of cases in the community," he said. 

Getting a flu shot is the best way to avoid getting sick this winter, said Dr. Jennifer Raley, vice chair for Clinical Affairs for Family Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. 

"In this area, our flu season is generally the most active in January and February — the coldest months," Raley said. "You still have time to get vaccinated now." 

The last major flu outbreak in the county was in 2005, when there were 45 confirmed cases. In contrast, there were four cases reported in 2004, 20 in 2003 and six in 2002. 

There are some common-sense steps that people can take to avoid catching the flu, Raley said, such as wiping off grocery baskets with antibacterial tissues before shopping. 

"It's very important to prevent yourself from becoming ill and spreading that illness to others," Koopmann said.

For More Information Contact:
Kurt Koopmann
Public Information Officer
Galveston County Health District
409-938-2211 or 409-392-0007
kkoopman@gchd.org