Expert: Flu season arrival and end early

Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:41 PM

CHICAGO, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The 2012-2013 influenza outbreak got an early start and likewise will peter out early, a Chicago physician says.

Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of the infection prevention and control program at Loyola University Health System near Chicago, said the Loyola Flu Central is a weekly snapshot of flu activity locally, regionally and nationally.

It is available on the Loyola University Health System website, through Twitter and on Facebook.

The Loyola Flu Central documents cases reported by health agencies in Illinois, the state's Cook County, which includes Chicago, and elsewhere across the nation, as well as cased handled by the Loyola University Health System.

"This year's flu season started early and while many people have been infected by the virus, everyone has been affected by the virus," Parada said in a statement. "Getting the vaccine is the best protection against the flu and knowing the facts is also a plus."

Paul Schreckenberger, director of the clinical microbiology laboratory at Loyola, who oversees use of the respiratory panel used to test for 17 viruses -- including the flu -- and three bacterial pathogens in about 60 minutes, said this year's flu season was explosive and yet was largely preventable.

Anti-viral therapy is available and patients who have flu symptoms should seek medical attention, Schreckenberger said.

Loyola Flu Central is at: http://loyolamedicine.org/content/loyola-flu-central, https://twitter.com/LoyolaFlu or www.facebook.com/loyolahealth.

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