Iowa health officials have noticed an apparent spike in the number of flu cases in Iowa, with school-aged children bearing the brunt of the outbreak.
The number of school children who have missed school because of illness has doubled over the last week, according to school officials, and health officials suspect that flu is the cause for the increase.
"It is pretty unusual," Patricia Quinlisk, the state's epidemiologist, said Friday. "It happens now and then, and it seems to be determined by what strain we're seeing, but this year we've got three strains, and that's very unusual."
Typically, Quinlisk said, the state only sees one or perhaps two strains of the flu. She said that of the three strains circulating in Iowa, one seemed to be affecting children in large numbers.
Health officials said the recent uptick in flu cases highlighted the need for everyone, and particularly children, to get a flu shot.
Vaccinations will protect against three strains of flu that are circulating in Iowa, and are available in both as the traditional injection or as a nasal spray.
Quinlisk said it was important for everyone - even those who don't classify themselves as "high risk" - to get a flu shot. She said there was no shortage of flu shots, as in years past, and stressed that it was "not too late."