PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It seems a little puzzling. How does Rhode Island have ‘sporadic’ flu activity while Massachusetts next door has ‘widespread’ flu activity so far in the 2017-2018 season?
“We really don’t know,” admitted the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Joseph Wendelken on Tuesday. “The flu is an unpredictable virus; it hits different states and different regions at different times.”
Under guidelines laid down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are five levels of flu activity: No Activity, Sporadic, Local, Regional, or Widespread. The CDC said for the week ending November 25, Massachusetts reported widespread flu activity along with Georgia, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Rhode Island’s position at second from the bottom is average, Wendelken said. Every season is different, and activity can see peaks and valleys. The flu sticks around until the end of the spring.
The Department of Health, like the CDC, recommends everyone 6 months and older gets a flu shot every year — and especially those who are elderly, pregnant, or have certain conditions like cancer or diabetes. “It’s your best protection,” Wendelken said.
Todd Wallace contributed reporting.