Related Story

COLUMBIA - Local health officials stressed the need for flu shots Thursday, as CDC reported the flu is widespread across the United States with 41 states having declared a widespread influenza activity at the end of December.  Starting last week, Missouri joined these states. Widespread influenza activity is defined as increased flu-like illness and confirmed positive lab tests for influenza.

Flu season usually reaches its peak around February, and it is believed that the flu has reached an early peak this year, but that can not be determined until the season is over. According to this week's report from the Missouri Department of Health, there have been 9,842 cases of the flu so far this season.

More than fifty Missouri counties have reported an average of more than 200 influenza cases per 100,000 residents so far this flu season. The Boone County Health Department advises everyone who has not already receive the flu vaccine get it. Most importantly, the health department emphasized that those who may have already gotten the B strain of the virus get a shot as well, because they will still be susceptible to the other forms of the virus. 

Current information on the status of the flu in the US can be found at the CDC website.