Via the Houston Chronicle: Flu-like activity increasing in Houston and Texas. Excerpt:
Texas public health officials say every region of the state, including Montgomery and Harris counties, is seeing intense flu activity this season, which could result, as in past years, in at least several hundred deaths.
In Harris County, hospital emergency room visits for flu-like symptoms are at a five-year high.
Christine Mann, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Thursday her agency is aware of suspected flu cases that Montgomery County public health officials are investigating. She said the county is sending specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for more extensive testing and confirmation.
"We'll wait and see what they find," Mann said, adding that the H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu, is the predominant strain this season, which started in September and typically runs until spring.
On Thursday, Montgomery County officials confirmed their second case of H1N1 virus. The unidentified patient is being treated at an area hospital, spokeswoman Jennifer Nichols-Contella said in a written statement. Tests are to be performed on six other cases, including the deaths of four people who suffered flu-like symptoms.
"The Montgomery County Public Health District is coordinating with regional and state resources to manage the case investigations," Nichols-Contella said.
Meanwhile, Mann stressed that the state is in the middle of flu season. So it's typical, she noted, for hospitals and doctors this time of year to see many cases.
"We don't even think we're at the peak," she said. "It's not unexpected."
Mann said there's no way to know how many people have died because flu cases are not required to be reported unless they involve children. No children have died so far this flu season in Texas.