Flu spreading rapidly, more than half of Virginia affected - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Flu spreading rapidly, more than half of Virginia affected

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

More people are staying home from work or school these days because of the flu. The latest state numbers show the flu has reached more than half of Virginia and the number is rapidly growing.

State health officials say the flu started spreading rapidly in Virginia two months earlier than last year. The last time we saw the flu take over the commonwealth like this was nearly a decade ago.

"We've had reported outbreaks of flu in settings like schools or nursing homes, assisted living facilities, in all five regions of the state," said Dr. Laurie Forlano of the Virginia Department of Health.

State Health Department stats show the flu is hitting the young and the elderly more than last year. Southwest Virginia had been one of the hardest hit areas but that seems to have leveled off. 

"We can't say if we're truly at our peak yet, time will tell what the trend will be and hopefully in the next few weeks we can see where those numbers are going to go," said, Forlano.

In Virginia - health officials have made a strong push for people to get the vaccine.

Right now they say the vaccine's effectiveness is 62 percent.

"If you get the vaccine, you will be 62 percent less likely to end up in your doctor's office with the flu. So it's not perfect, it's not 100 percent," said Forlano.

Not perfect - but if you live in Virginia, it's the best preventative measure.

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