Advertisement

Influenza numbers significantly low for 2020/2021 season

As of last Friday, South Dakota reported only 69 cases of influenza. A small fraction of the thousands usually reported.
As of last Friday, South Dakota reported only 69 cases of influenza. A small fraction of the...
As of last Friday, South Dakota reported only 69 cases of influenza. A small fraction of the thousands usually reported.(KFVS)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 10:41 AM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - COVID-19 has been the virus of the century, creating lockdowns, school closures, and a worldwide pandemic.

Other diseases haven’t stopped but the number of flu cases across the northern hemisphere was greatly decreased this season.

As of last Friday, South Dakota reported only 69 cases of influenza. A small fraction of the thousands usually reported.

An official with monument health said plenty of influenza tests were administered but covid regulations over the last year have helped bring the flu numbers down.

”It really shows that the preventative measures that we’ve taken for COVID really do work, so things like social distancing, wearing masks, really do also prevent other respiratory viruses such as influenza,” said Ty White, director of Infection Prevention Control for Monument Health. “It really prevents respiratory droplets which is how influenza is also spread just like COVID.”

Normally, South Dakota sees its peak number of flu cases at the end of February but didn’t see that spike this year.

Although a smaller flu season sounds like a good thing all around, it could cause a little concern next year when updating the flu vaccine.

”The closest we’ve seen, that was probably in 2011, 2012 that we had a smaller influenza season, but the vaccine for the next year actually was predicted right on, so you just never know,” said White. “I don’t have a crystal ball but they’ll still use the strains that they did have circulating this year to help predict next year.”

White said scientists will use the few strains reported this year to help create next year’s vaccine.

Copyright 2021 KEVN. All rights reserved.