The Cuyahoga County Board of Health's Weekly Flu Surveillance Reports have indicated a significant rise in flu-related hospitalizations during the final week of 2012.
For Week 52 of the 2012-13 season, there were 134 reported cases, up from 73 the previous week.
This weekly total is comparable to the levels recorded in Weeks 42-44 of the 2009-10 season, the year of the H1N1 flu pandemic.
At that time, the onset of influenza occurred much earlier in the flu season with the number of reported cases decreasing to more typical levels by Week 47.
For the 2012-13 season, the opposite has been true as the season started slowly and built steadily in Weeks 49-52.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan recommends that county residents contact their doctor, the Board of Health's flu clinic, or their local pharmacy to receive a flu shot.
"Each year, we encourage everyone to receive a flu shot. Based on the weekly surveillance reports, it is obvious that this is a very active flu season and we all should have a heightened sense of urgency in protecting ourselves, our families, our co-workers, and those with whom we come in contact each day. A reminder to all that the two groups at particular risk are the very young and the elderly." Said Allan.