ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Doctors don't think the flu epidemic in South Georgia has reached its peak... yet.
Phoebe's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steven Kitchen, said Wednesday that the number of severe flu cases in our region continue to rise.
Dr. Kitchen told the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors in its monthly meeting Wednesday that PPMH is treating about 40 to 50 more patients per day right now, than they do on a typical day.
According to Dr. Kitchen, vaccination rates are still high, but Phoebe is seeing far more flu cases, including far more severe cases that require the patient being admitted to the hospital.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said that as of the last full week of January, 51 people have died related to the flu, including one child, so far this flu season.
Dr. Kitchen said it may be a couple months before the epidemic dies down.
"Usually, it peaks during the winter time, and declines sharply during the spring," he explained. "We would certainly anticipate by the early part of the spring that we're going to see a significant tapering in the number of cases of the flu that we see."
The flu vaccine is only about 30 percent effective when it comes to the most popular strain of the flu right now, H3N2, according to Dr. Kitchen.
However, he said that if you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, you should; it may lessen your symptoms if you get infected.