In Michigan health news, the 2012-2013 flu season is shaping up to be a rough one. The Detroit Free Press reports that yet another child has died in southwest Michigan from flu-related illness, bringing the number to three this year. Two adults have died from similar flu illnesses, and the number of cases in Michigan continues to rise.
Nationwide, incidence of flu is higher than normal, too. Reuters reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is showing a jump in flu cases over the last four weeks, from 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent. That compares to 7.7 percent during the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009.
New Baltimore-Chesterfield Patch reports a spike in flu cases in Macomb County, as well. Michigan state health officials say that the Michigan Department of Community Health is not mandated to report adult flu death statistics, so the number of actual deaths from flu-like conditions may not be accurate. WWJ CBS Detroit reports that since December 27, 2012, over 250 flu cases have been confirmed. Normally, the number doesn't get that high until February.
Health care providers recommend that anyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu shot and that those working with infants under 6 months, particularly, get vaccinated. The 2013 flu shot covers three strains: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus, and a B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus, reports the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD).
In Oakland County, flu shots are available for $16 each at OCHD locations in Pontiac and Southfield. Walk-in flu vaccines are available for those paying with cash, Medicaid, or Medicare. Those paying with a credit card must make an appointment.
Macomb County Public Health (MCPH) offers flu vaccines for $15 and accepts Medicare Part D and Medicaid as payment. Those using these as payment must present program ID cards. Kids under age 19 without insurance or whose coverage doesn't include flu vaccines can enroll in the Vaccines for Children program. Under this program, shots cost only $8 each. MCPH accepts eligible Medicaid coverage for children, but does not contract with MIChild.
For a complete list of flu shot clinics in metro Detroit, visit Flu.gov. The Flu Vaccine Finder tool allows you to search for immunization locations near your ZIP code area. The interactive map breaks down vaccine choices: shot, intradermal shot, nasal spray, and high-dose shot. You can compare costs and payment options (including Medicaid and Medicare). The Med Watcher Health Map helps you track flu outbreaks near you.