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Tampa Bay among top 10 in the nation for most severe flu cases, Florida's draw could be factor

Posted at 11:23 AM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 11:41:40-05

Kassandra Melgar is holding her one year old daughter a little tighter. The mom is dealing with a tough week after taking Nayeli's big brother to the emergency room.

"My son is only three and he goes to daycare and I was thinking oh my God," said Melgar.

Noel was coming down with the flu

"I was scared because of all the stuff going on with the flu and kids dying," said Melgar.

CDC reports show 53 deaths this season, five in Florida.

And now a new report from the Doctor's Report Illness Tracker ranks the Bay area as the sixth biggest flu hot spot in the nation.

Pediatrician Dr. Cynthia Wood White with the Pediatric Health Care Alliance  said the numbers are troubling but she understand why.

First, we live in a travel destination with  a lot of high profile events.

"The biggest time when I see the biggest increase is right after the Gasparilla Children's Parade." said Dr. Wood White. "Whenever you have a whole bunch people coming together and some people are sick it spreads like crazy."

And, when you combine that with this deadly strain even researchers did not anticipate

"It's definitely the perfect storm where you get a lot more of an outbreak," said Dr. Wood White.

The proof is in the numbers, in her office alone they're seeing 80-100 kids a day. 

"We are trying to get everybody in but it's definitely an overwhelming," said Dr. Wood White.

Adding to the concerns, pharmacies are running out of an essential medication.

"There's definitely a shortage in our area at least for the Tamiflu," said Dr. Wood White.

Dr. Wood White said it's not to late for a flu shot and if you start feeling sick,

"The best thing that you can do is rest. We push ourselves to hard," said Dr. Wood White.

Melgar is not taking any chances after Noel's scare, Nayeli is here for a well check.


The Tampa Bay area is among the top 10 metro areas in the nation with the most severe flu cases, according to a new report by

The report lists 14 areas in the United States where the flu has been the most severe. The data compiled came from a database of doctor reported cases over the past week. 

The Tampa Bay Area ranks sixth in the country for the flu and eighth in the country for Flu A, a different category of influenza. 

The latest Flu news, flu shot information and tips

Florida Department of Health: Flu activity remains high throughout Hillsborough County

The following locations are ranked on a severity scale (with 10 being the most severe) for the Flu. 

  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI, 9.5
  2. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC, 9.5
  3. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, 9.0
  4. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, 9.0
  5. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN, 8.0
  6. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL, 7.5
  7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, 7.0
  8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, 7.0
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX, 6.5
  10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA, 6.0
  11. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD, 5.5
  12. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI, 5.0
  13. Pittsburgh, PA, 5.0
  14. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI, 4.5

The current severity rankings for Flu A, a different category of influenza, which can be severe are:

  1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL, 8.5
  2. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, 7.0
  3. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD, 7.0
  4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI, 6.0
  5. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC, 6.0
  6. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, 5.5
  7. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI, 4.5
  8. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL, 4.5
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX, 4.0
  10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, 4.0
  11. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, 4.0
  12. Pittsburgh, PA, 4.0

According to a flu report released, Hillsborough County has reported 30 outbreaks during the current flu season. Nine of those were reported in child care facilities/schools and two in long-term care facilities. 

So far, there has only been one pediatric death in Hillsborough County caused by the flu. 

The Florida Department of Health says those who haven't received a flu shot are encouraged to get one now. 

Free and low-cost flu shot options in Florida