Flu season

Old man walking outdoors with a cane in his left hand.

Influenza and related illnesses continue to be widespread across Georgia. So far this season, 47 Georgians have died from the flu, and more than half of those deaths were people over the age of 65.

A baby wearing a mask as a preventative measure against a flu
Kin Cheung / AP

While the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency, influenza and related illness has sickened and killed far more Georgians than the number of people in the United States affected by coronavirus.


Health officials are warning that flu season isn’t over yet, and this year’s illness is tracking closely to the 2017-18 season, which had some of the highest numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in 40 years.

Influenza and flu-like illness have already killed 15 Georgians. Six of those deaths happened in the last week of 2019.


Georgia's public health agency is urging residents to get flu shots without delay, saying illnesses as widespread across the state.

lab technologist Sharda Modi tests a patient's swab for a flu infection
David Goldman / AP

Georgia is seeing outpatient visits for flu-like illness at a higher rate than the national average, according to health officials.

Kin Cheung / AP

A recent study by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of babies hospitalized with influenza last flu season is at least double previous estimates. Those estimates nearly triple when considering the number of babies previously thought to have died of flu-related illness.

David Goldman / AP

A new flu activity summary from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that flu activity is the highest it has been all season.

Influenza-like illness is expected to continue for several weeks, the report states.

In Georgia, 15 people have died of influenza since the start of flu season.

Georgia Department of Public Health

While Atlanta's airport is recovering from the effects of the partial government shutdown and city officials are strongly advising use of public transportation, sports fans should watch out for symptoms of illness as flu season is still going strong in Georgia. 

Stay home if you're not feeling well, state epidemiologist Audrey Kunkes said.

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AP file

The CDC reports that Georgia has had one of the highest flu rates in the country during this winter. Georgia has seen more than 400 flu-related hospitalizations since the start of flu season in September, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.


Andy Miller, editor of Georgia Health News, joined "On Second Thought" to discuss flu trends in the state and how to prevent illness until peak flu season ends in February.


AP Photo/David Goldman

Influenza has yet to hit its peak in Georgia, but Memorial Health in Savannah is already changing its policies to protect staff.

Only healthy adults over the age of 18 should plan to visit sick patients, and anyone with cold or flu-like illness must wear a mask.

"No one with flu-like symptoms will be permitted in patient rooms," spokesman Dale Hooks said in a news release. "Flu-like symptoms include fever, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, or upset stomach."

AP file

Get your flu shot now if you haven't already; it's not too late.

That's the advice from public health officials at the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after Georgia ranked highest in flu-like illness for the second week in a row.

Since flu season began Sept. 30, one woman died, at least 16 people have been hospitalized and more than 11,000 Georgians have reported symptoms, state health epidemiologist Audrey Kunkes said. 

Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine / Armed Forces Institute of Pathology

It's been 100 years since a Spanish influenza epidemic killed as many as 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 Americans.