Cases in current flu season outpacing previous seasons in South Dakota


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — This year’s flu season in South Dakota is seeing far more cases than the same time in recent years; so far 1,931 cases of influenza have been reported in South Dakota this season along with 44 hospitalizations and two deaths.

Dr. Brian Tjarks, family practice doctor with Sanford Health, says flu vaccinations are down.

“It’s definitely lower than it normally is,” Tjarks said. “I think with our low rates of influenza last year, patients may have become a little bit more complacent and didn’t feel like it was as necessary to get vaccinated for the flu.”

But he says the need to get the flu shot is clear.

“But as we’re seeing right now with influenza cases skyrocketing, that we really need to get people vaccinated for influenza,” Tjarks said.

Chart from the South Dakota Department of Health.

When it comes to the flu or COVID-19, he encourages people to learn about what they may have.

“If you have any question as to whether or not you are ill, please get tested for COVID and/or the flu,” Tjarks said.

Vaccines for COVID-19 have the clear support of health care professionals. Tjarks shares this for the flu vaccine, too.

“Most important thing is everybody should be vaccinated, both get vaccinated for both influenza and for COVID, get boosted,” Tjarks said.

During last year’s flu season, the state lists just 71 confirmed cases, seven hospitalizations and two deaths.

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