1,700 hospitalized by flu in Wisconsin; outbreak may reach near- - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

1,700 hospitalized by flu in Wisconsin; outbreak may reach near-epidemic levels


The flu is spreading rapidly and may reach near-epidemic levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 1,700 people have been hospitalized across the state.

Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin's Dr. Mario Montalbo said some of his patients have ended up in the hospital.

"I would always take the flu seriously. Anything using the term flu, influenza, it's trying to convince people that it's deadly," Montalbo said.

"I don't believe we're at peak activity yet. I think we're perhaps we're a week or two away," state epidemiologist Tom Haupt said.

Haupt is in charge of flu surveillance for Wisconsin. He said 125 people were hospitalized in Wisconsin on Tuesday alone and he expects those numbers to continue to rise.

"And since the beginning of the flu season, which we count as Sept. 1 through now, we've had over 1,700 hospitalizations. And again, we expect that to increase over the next few weeks," Haupt said.

Health experts said it's often something called co-infection that lands older people or the very young in the hospital. Flu weakens the immune system and that opens the door for other infections.

There are as many as six other viruses striking people after they get hit by the flu.

"Pneumonia, sinus infections, truly, those are bacteria that we're concerned about," Montalbo said.

Wisconsin's latest flu numbers will be released Friday morning.

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