Health officials: Flu outbreak in Wisconsin upgraded to 'severe'

MILWAUKEE -- The flu is sweeping across the country, including here in southeast Wisconsin. Friday, January 19th, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services considers the current flu outbreak severe.

At Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, it's common for kids to come in with the flu. It's something Dr. Lyn Ranta sees every flu season.

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

"You have a lot of body aches. You have fever, you have headaches," said Dr. Ranta.

Dr. Lyn Ranta

Dr. Ranta says this year the numbers have been more significant.

"I think we're really seeing a fairly robust flu season," said Ranta.

Statewide, this flu season has been both aggressive and deadly.

"The best thing to do is if you're sick stay home. The rest of us need to be remembering to wash our hands all the time," Ranta said.


Doctors say if you think you have the flu to limit your exposure with others.

"We're in the middle of a severe influenza and we're not yet at peak activity," said Tom Haupt, influenza surveillance coordinator.

It's a status upgrade from just two days ago. The state Department of Health Services says in Wisconsin, more than 2,500 have been hospitalized from the flu this season alone.

"We're hearing that hospitals in the state are getting close to capacity," said Haupt.

100 people per day were hospitalized across the state just this week. Tom Haupt, with the Department of Health, says the powerful strain could cause the numbers to rise for weeks to come.

"It's probably going to get a little worse before it gets better. I think in the next week or so we'll be at peak activity and then we'll be at a slow decline," Haupt said.

We're told no children have died from the flu virus in the state this year. Doctors are stressing it is not too late to get your flu shot. It's recommended for anyone six months or older.