Iowa health officials reported this week that the influenza virus is currently circulating among every age group and in different parts of the state.
Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health use the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network to see what types of influenza viruses are circulating and where the cases are located in the state. The surveillance network is monitored all year long, the Quad-City Times reports.
Officials recommended that Iowans older than six months of age get a flu vaccine to protect against the virus, historically one of the deadliest illnesses in humans. The vaccine is in plentiful supply and is widely available throughout the state.
“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, those around you, and your family and friends from getting the flu,” Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director of the state’s health department, said, according to the Quad-City Times. “We typically begin seeing flu cases in October, and because surveillance shows the virus is already circulating in the state, it’s clear Iowans need to be vaccinated now to ensure that they don’t get the flu this year.”
According to the IDPH, pregnant women and children with underlying medical conditions are most susceptible to the flu and should make sure to get vaccinations. This year’s vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus.