ST. LOUIS – According to doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, flu cases in the St. Louis area have spiked.
This severe flu outbreak includes deaths of otherwise healthy young and middle-aged adults who did not receive the flu vaccine.
As was the case in 2009, the H1N1 strain, also known as "swine flu," is severely affecting young people. Some of these patients become critical, and admitted into intensive care units. Some of these patients need dialysis or heart-lung machines. Nine flu patients at Barnes have died.
The hospital has diagnosed 320 cases of influenza this flu season, with an average of 10 to 12 cases each day.
Bethany Pope, a spokesperson for Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, says as of last week, they have had 105 confirmed cases of influenza. She says they have not noticed an uptick in cases at Mercy.
Jason Merrill, a spokesperson for Saint Louis University Hospital, says they are testing an average of 10 people per day for the flu. Two or three tests each day come back positive. SLU Hospital has not seen any flu deaths.
If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, it's not too late. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for the location nearest you.