GREEN BAY — Wisconsin has registered five times as many flu cases this season than last season.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services data show the state has had nearly 940 confirmed flu cases, compared to nearly 180 at the same point of last year's flu season.
Prevea Health Centers have treated nearly 330 flu cases this season in the northeast of the state, WLUK-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2luPliO ). That compares to nearly 30 cases at this time last year. This flu season's amount at Prevea already has surpassed its total number of nearly 230 cases last season.
"The primary reason for the numbers going up this year is the vaccine they developed back in the spring isn't as effective against the strain that they developed it for," said Dr. Paul Pritchard, Prevea Health chief quality officer.
Data show the flu hit and peaked in Wisconsin earlier this season than last season.
"There has been years when it showed up really early: October, November," Pritchard said. "And there has been years it showed up really late in the year: March or April."
Health professionals say that even though the season might be peaking now, it's not too late to get vaccinated.
"If we can minimize the number of people that get hospitalized or get the infection, then you can minimize how much it spreads throughout the community," Pritchard said.
He said St. Vincent and St. Mary's hospitals have had to bring in extra staff to take care of all of the patients that have been treated recently.
The flu season is expected to last about three more months.