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Flu cases quadruple in Oneida County in just two weeks

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Flu season has hit Oneida County early and with a vengeance. Ninety four new cases were diagnosed the week leading up to November 16th.

That number has grown to 474 cases November 27th. The county has already surpassed the number of cases for all of last flu season...and it's not even December. Health experts say the smallest among us make up the largest group of afflicted.

"Children one to nine years of age represent the largest number of flu cases," says Oneida County Health Department Public Educator Ken Fanelli.

Debra Acker is a WKTV employee and parent of a child recovering from the flu. While little children like Acker's son, Aidan, seem to always be battling colds, this time, it was different.

"I think because the fever was really high, persistent, the cough sounded different. Congestion, constant runny nose and stuffy nose at the same time" 36:25 "and basically I just think when you're a mom, you know, when something's different, something's wrong," says Acker.

To add insult to injury, Aidan had the flu shot a week before he got sick.

"I asked about that and the doctor said he did not have enough time to build up antibodies for this particular strain of flu," says Acker.

But the doctor assured her, her son did not get the flu from the vaccine.

"The shot didn't give him the flu, no, it actually probably helped him because if he didn't have the flu shot, he would have worse symptoms and for longer," says Acker.

Fanelli explains how the flu spreads.

"It's spread when you cough or sneeze and don't cover a cough or sneeze or when you sneeze into your hand then you handle something and someone subsequently picks it up," says Fanelli.

Stopping the spread of the flu is equally as simple. Wash your hands, frequently and thoroughly. Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, never your hands. Avoid people with flu-like symptoms and if you're experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay home.

The Oneida County Health Department has added Fridays to their regular Monday and Thursday flu clinics at their Elizabeth Street location in order to deal with an anticipated increased demand.

Neighboring counties aren't seeing this spike in flu cases. Herkimer County so far has had 21 confirmed cases; Otsego County, two.

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