Hospitals from South Bend to Evansville have imposed restrictions that include barring visitors other than immediate family or other significant persons.
Pregnant women and children are among those in high-risk categories for complications from influenza-like illnesses, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.
Data provided by the Cook County Dept. of Public Health shows, in the North and Northwest suburbs, a spike in those presenting flu symptoms at area hospitals in weeks 49 and 50 of 2017.
Gary Wheeler, the Arkansas Department of Health's chief medical officer, said this year's flu season is earlier than usual but won't necessarily be worse. The fifth patient was an 81-year-old resident of Irving. "The course of flu is unpredictable in both adults and children and it is hard to identify the stage of transmission with certainty", said Bakht Roshan, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist.
A media release from the ADPH reminds the public that the flu is a very contagious respiratory illness, with symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
A flu vaccine, available at pharmacies and in good supply in the United States, may not offer adequate protection against Type A, subtype H3N2, the influenza virus strain now circulating in the country, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Thursday. That's up from 84 cases reported during the previous week.
"It's just one of those years where the CDC is seeing that this strain of flu is only somewhat covered by the vaccine that was given this year", said Jennifer Radtke, manager for infection prevention at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, as quoted by USA Today.
"In most cases of the flu, it's best to recover on your own at home", according to a county statements. "It's not too late to get vaccinated".
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, the CDC recommends avoiding close contact with sick people, limiting your contact with others when you feel sick and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, in order to prevent the spread of germs.