Flu cases already confirmed in Kentucky

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, reports two cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza, indicating the presence of flu activity in Kentucky. The cases are both from Jefferson County.

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals aged six months of age and older.  People who are strongly encouraged to receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences include:

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• Children age six months through 59 months; 

• Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season; 

• Persons 50 years of age or older;

• Persons with extreme obesity (Body Mass Index of 40 or greater); 

• Persons aged six months and older with chronic health problems; 

• Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; 

• Household contacts (including children) and caregivers of children aged ≤59 months
(i.e., aged <five years, particularly contacts of children   aged <six months) and adults
aged ≥50 years;

• Household contacts and caregivers or people who live with a person at high-risk for
complications from the flu; and

• Health care workers, including physicians, nurses, and other workers in inpatient and
outpatient-care settings, medical emergency-response workers (e.g., paramedics and
emergency medical technicians), employees of nursing home and long-term care
facilities who have contact with patients or residents, and students in these professions
who will have contact with patients.

Adequate supplies of flu vaccine are expected to be available for this year’s flu season. Only injectable influenza vaccine formulations will be distributed in the United States. Vaccination can be given any time during the flu season.

“Getting the flu can be debilitating and sometimes life-threatening. Vaccination is the best tool we have to prevent the flu,” said Hiram C. Polk, Jr., M.D., commissioner of DPH. “It’s also extremely important to take simple preventive steps to avoid the flu. You should also follow the advice your parents gave you to prevent flu and other illnesses that tend to circulate at this time of year – wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home when you’re sick.”

Beginning in October, DPH officials will begin to report weekly influenza activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of statewide flu surveillance efforts.

Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.  Flu can be very contagious.  For more information on influenza or the availability of flu vaccine, Kentuckians should contact their primary care medical provider or local health department.  Influenza information is also available online at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.