First confirmed death from influenza in Kansas City
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2019
The Kansas City, Missouri Health Department reports one person has died from influenza. This marks the first confirmed influenza death in Kansas City in the 2019/2020 flu season. The patient was in their 60’s and had underlying health conditions.
Influenza can cause dangerous complications for high-risk groups such as people with compromised immune systems, adults 65 years and older, people with asthma, heart disease or at risk of stroke, pregnant women and young children.
Every week, the health department releases the number of confirmed flu cases in the city. As of Dec. 10, there were 212 reported cases in Kansas City.
“Influenza is a reportable condition in Missouri. That means if a physician runs a test and confirms the influenza virus, they are required to report it to the health department,” said Tiffany Wilkinson, Communicable Disease Prevention and Public Health Preparedness division manager. “But we know influenza cases are highly undiagnosed and under-reported. If one family member comes into the office with the flu, but the whole family has the same symptoms, the doctor does not typically need to test each family member. In that case, even though every family member likely has the flu, only one was confirmed and counted.”
Flu numbers are on the rise; however, it is NOT too late to be vaccinated. The Kansas City, Missouri Immunization Clinic at 2400 Troost Ave. offers flu vaccinations during regular clinic hours. Normal operating hours are:
• 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays
• 8 a.m. – Noon on Thursdays
The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccination each year, unless they have a severe, life-threatening allergy to the flu vaccine.
There is no out-of-pocket cost for children and adults who are uninsured or under-insured, or those with Medicaid or Medicaid B. Those with Medicare Advantage plans will need to go to their primary care physician to be vaccinated.
Most private insurance companies pay the full cost of a flu vaccine, so there should also be no out-of-pocket cost for children and adults with insurance. If the private insurance is not accepted by the department’s system, there will be a fee of $22 for those 6 months to 64-years old. People over 65 who need the high-dose flu shot will be charged $47, if their private insurance does not go through. Find more information on the flu shot at kcmo.gov/health.
Media inquiries should be directed to Michelle Pekarsky, 816-719-3610 (cell). Follow the Health Department on Twitter.