Flu arrives in Oregon

If you're going to the Portland area for Thanksgiving, be aware that Oregon's first case of influenza this season has been confirmed in Washington County.

"The flu has arrived in Oregon and more people will be getting sick," said Dr. Paul Cieslak, manager of DHS's Acute and Communicable Diseases Prevention program.

The influenza virus was identified in a man in his 20s, who is recovering. Cases of influenza also have been identified in the four states bordering Oregon — California, Nevada, Idaho and Washington — but flu activity in the United States is still classified as "low" by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cieslak encouraged Oregonians to get vaccinated against the flu, noting there's plenty of flu vaccine available this year, and still time to get the benefit of vaccination. The vaccine takes several weeks to become fully effective. Many pharmacies offer flu immunization, and the vaccine is available at many physicians' offices. Public health officials now recommend immunizing children age 6 months to 18 years as well as older people.

Recent research indicates young children have the highest incidence of influenza-caused illness. They also spread the disease to others because they often do not follow good hygiene practices.

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