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Record number of flu cases reported this year

BISMARCK — A record number of influenza cases have been reported this year, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

There have been 7,045 total number of flu cases for the 2016-17 season, according to a weekly summary sent Monday by the Department of Health. In comparison, the 2014-15 season, which was a severe flu season, there were 6,443 cases. The 2015-16 season saw just 1,942 cases.

Jill Baber, an epidemiologist with the Health Department, said in an email she believes the increase this season is due to more hospitals and clinics using an electronic laboratory reporting system, in which flu reports are sent in automatically, so there are fewer missed reports statewide.

North Dakota has continued widespread flu activity. However, the flu season is coming down from its peak during the week ending on Feb. 18.

There have been 20 confirmed influenza deaths, which is about average, Baber said.

The predominant strain is an influenza A H3N2 strain.

For more information on influenza or to report cases and surveillance information, visit www.ndflu.com.

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