CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More people in Kanawha County are getting the flu, a trend that will likely continue, health officials say.
"We've seen a big jump in lab-confirmed cases of flu over the last several weeks and there is no indication that it is slowing down," Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director and health officer of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said Wednesday in a prepared statement.
The confirmed cases, Gupta said, "only represent the tip of the iceberg of the total public health burden.
"Many ill people don't seek treatment or are diagnosed with influenza-like illness, which does not always require testing," he said.
More than 10,000 flu cases were confirmed in West Virginia as of mid-December, the highest total for the period in at least five years, state figures show.
West Virginia is among 31 states reporting widespread flu activity, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
As of Dec. 18, there were 10,676 confirmed cases, according to Department of Health and Human Resources data. In all of December, there were 6,658 cases in 2011, 6,245 cases in 2010, 8,961 in 2009, 6,271 in 2008 and 7,217 in 2007.
"Every week there's been significant jumps in the number of confirmed positives. We've seen steady increases in confirmed cases from across the county and across the state for five consecutive weeks,'' Brandon Merritt, regional epidemiologist with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said.