Doctors talk why Southern Nevada may be seeing low flu numbers this year

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While COVID-19 cases remain high, flu activity is unusually low this year in Southern Nevada.

“We are seeing less influenza activity,” said Dr. Cort Lohff, acting chief medical officer at the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD).

The latest report by SNHD shows zero deaths and only five flu cases and hospitalizations so far. This is substantially lower compared to a year ago, when data revealed more than 460 cases and hospitalizations, as well as 10 deaths.

“It could be the fact that the flu virus may not be as severe as in previous years,” said Lohff.

He also credits more people washing their hands, social distancing and wearing masks, the same safety precautions to combat COVID-19.

“Influenza is much less transmissible than the COVID virus,” Lohff explained. “That could explain the reasoning why we’re seeing less influenza than COVID.”

Dr. Ravi Ramanathan shared, “We do see a lot of patients coming in earlier, with any type of flu-like symptoms because they’re concerned, they’re worried.”

Ramanathan, who practices family medicine, also credits the flu vaccine for making a difference. Roughly 180 million doses were distributed this season.

“Increase in vaccinations have been occurring this year,” he said.

Dr. Shadaba Asad, medical director of infectious diseases at UMC, tells 8 News Now viral interference is likely happening, as well:

“So, something of a competition between flu and COVID is leading to much less flu this year.”

Doctors say the flu is circulating in the community, and the best way to fight the virus is by getting a vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports low to minimal flu activity around most of the country this year.

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