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Government Shutdown could have impact on flu season

the flu season, is here, and with new concerns.
Flu season is here and with new concern.

Because of the partial Government Shutdown, local health officials can't get up-to-date information on the flu.

It's not a good situation.

The Center For Disease Control monitors where and when any sort of outbreak happens, including with the flu.

But because of the Shutdown, those employees are now furloughed.

Which could mean some frustration for local health officials.

In Texarkana, flu season is here.

"We did see one case in September as well as a couple cases so far in October," said Infection Control Nurse Sarah Robinson.

Robinson works at Wadley Regional Medical Clinic.

But the Government Shutdown, could make this season different.
Because employees at the Center for Disease Control who monitor flu activity, are furloughed.

"Without the CDC, with them furloughed, it's hard to track the flu outbreaks on a national scale," said Robinson. "So it's hard for healthcare workers to see how it's moving across the country."

Health officials also won't get current information or warnings on the flu.

Without those details, they'll be in the dark.

"We're unable to know how bad the flu season really is, other than based on what we're seeing in our area," Robinson stated.

Even next year's flu season could be impacted by the furloughs.

"The CDC tracks how well the vaccine is working against the flu this year," said Robinson. "They also put together and develop the vaccines for next year, so with them being on furlough, they're already two weeks behind. So that could mean limited supply in vaccines for next year or a delay in getting that vaccine."

Despite the setback, medical staff say not to panic.

The best thing to do is be prepared, and get the shot.

"We stress vaccines because it's the best line of defense against the flu every year."

Officials say the best time to get a flu shot is now.

Places are fully stocked with the vaccine.

Robinson says Wadley has more than 2,000 doses of it.

She also says the CDC recommends those 50 and older, those with small children, and healthcare workers all need to get the shot.

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