- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Health officials had hoped the school holiday break would cut down on the influenza outbreak in South Carolina.

It didn’t work.

Flu statistics typically drop during the two weeks around Christmas as people stay away from schools and some offices

The State newspaper reports (https://bit.ly/1tCUzUd) the number of flu cases in South Carolina jumped sharply between the middle of December and the end of the month.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said there had been 3,700 positive tests for flu the week ending Dec. 13. That jumped sharply to nearly 9,000 cases for the week ending Dec. 20 and nearly 10,000 for the week ending Dec. 27.

The number of people hospitalized with flu increased from about 180 to about 460 in the three-week period.

More than a dozen people died from flu-related problems during the same period.

“This is a heavy season,” said Dr. Matthew Crist, an epidemiologist with DHEC. “This is the type of season seen only a couple of times a decade.”

Flu typically peaks in South Carolina in late January or early February.

Health officials say people with fever should stay home, especially if it includes body aches, sore throat and a cough.

“One of the most important ways to protect others, particularly if you have a fever, is to not expose others,” Crist said.

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Information from: The State, https://www.thestate.com

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