Flu cases in double digits but numbers may spike

Julye Keeble 
Staff Writer

Though fewer than 40 cases of influenza have been reported in Uvalde County so far, the state is seeing a spike in cases and health experts are looking at surges in Australia as a possible indicator of the flu season in the U.S.

Susan Rios, marketing and public relations manager at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, said the hospital saw 383 lab-test identified cases of type A flu and 93 of type B between July of 2021 and June of 2022.

For this year, starting in July and going through September, the hospital had seen 35 positive tests compared to 13 for the same months in 2021. Of the 35 cases, 19 were type B.

Dolores Quiroz with Community Health Development Inc. Our Health has seen one positive flu test since July. 

For July of 2021 through June of 2022, including health centers in Leakey and Camp Wood, CHDI saw about 75 positive tests.

CHDI offers flu vaccines to everyone, even walk-ins whether or not they are a registered patient. Quiroz said about 420 flu shots have been given this year in Uvalde; 33 in Camp Wood; and 37 in Leakey.

The charge for a flu vaccine is $27, but Quiroz said if a patient has insurance which covers it, insurance providers can be billed for vaccination.

Across Texas

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas is ranked high for flu activity, and experts are recommending vaccination as a preventative measure.

The CDC recommends that anyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine, preferably by the end of this month. Per CDC data, there were approximately 1,322 patients hospitalized due to influenza for the week ending of Oct. 8. 

For that same time frame, 1,766 positive flu tests were reported, with the majority of 95.5 percent of cases, or 1,686, as type A.

According to CDC records, flu season and resulting cases typically peak in February, with cases continuing into May most seasons, but the flu season ran late last year, continuing into the early summer.


Dr. Alicia Fry, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the Southern hemisphere of the globe as a whole can offer insight into what the U.S. might be facing.

Per the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care, the country is facing the worst flu season seen in the past five years, and children ages 5-9 have had the highest case rates seen this year.

One factor possibly driving increased cases is a relaxation of social distancing and masking protocols seen over the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, pandemic precautions were one reason for the sharp drop off of flu cases, as the same precautions used to avoid spreading COVID-19 were effective in bating the spread of the flu. As people return to gathering in groups and largely refrain from wearing masks, the nation may see an uptick in flu cases.

The first national FluView report of 2022-2023 states, “Influenza activity is low but increasing in most of the country.”

jkeeble@ulnnow.com, 830-278-3335