Hays County seeing 2,000 percent spike in flu cases this season

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The flu is hitting Hays County hard this flu season. 

Officials with the Hays County Health Department report the county has seen a more than  2,000 percent increase in flu cases year to year from 2016 to 2017. 

"In 2017, we have had 304 confirmed cases of flu and that is way up compared to the 2016 December numbers of 15 confirmed cases," Hays County Health Department Epidemiologist Ian Harris said. 

Harris said this year's flu vaccine did not provide protection for a Type A strain of influenza that they're seeing people come in contact with this year. 

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"This year the predominant type is Type A, and it's actually an H3N2 virus," Harris said. "That's been something that's predominant this whole year." 

Harris predicts the spike in flu cases will continue to rise through February. Despite what you might have heard or read about this year's flu shot only being 10 percent effective, officials say it will still help the body fight the disease and recommends getting a flu shot to protect from other strains of the flu.  

Additional steps people can take to prevent catching the flu are keeping hand sanitizer close by, regularly wash your hands, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home from school or work if you're feeling sick.  

On Jan. 12, Hays County officials said the 304 cases in December has risen by 150 confirmed cases through Jan. 1 to 10.