Flu reports down in Illinois amid warm December

CHICAGO (AP) — Health officials say reports of influenza are down this winter in Illinois compared with recent years.

(Credit:  master1305)
(Credit: master1305)

Data from the Illinois Department of Public Health show that that from Dec. 20 to Dec. 26, there were 49 flu-related intensive care unit admissions and two outbreaks. During roughly the same time last year, there were 323 ICU admissions and 70 outbreaks statewide.

The Chicago Tribune reports that December’s higher-than-average temperatures helped keep the flu season in check. Health officials say flu reports are down in part because the influenza virus lives longer in the cold.

Flu season had already peaked by this time in Chicago in the last three years. But state and local health officials say it’s expected to peak this year in January or February.