Flu hospitalizations up in City of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- So far there have been 25 hospitalizations from the flu this year in Milwaukee. Last year at this time there were four.

“It seems to be an early flu year, like last year, but this year there seem to be an increase in hospitalizations,” explained Paul Biedrzycki with the City of Milwaukee Health Department and Disease Control and Environmental Health.

Biedrzycki also said the majority of those hospitalized are young adults. He explained, “Our concern this year is we have a strain of flu that's hitting young and middle age adults very hard."

Biedrzycki said there are several reasons this could be happening. While they are not clear as to why, he said it could mean less young adults are getting their flu shots, or it could have to do with the type of strain it is.

“This is the H1N1 strain, pandemic like, which is similar to what we saw in the 2009 pandemic and a couple seasons afterwards,” said Biedrzycki.

Biedrzycki said there are also other similarities in those who have been hospitalized so far this year- over 70 percent of those hospitalized this year have underlying conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

Whatever the reason, the numbers have health experts working to get the message of vaccination out.

“It's not too late. There is plenty of vaccine available. People should go out and get vaccinated to have a healthy holiday for them and their family,” said Biedrzycki.

Biedrzycki says according to state statistics, most people get vaccinated in October and November. December is typically a slower time of year.