URBANA — Influenza is picking up in the area, a local hospital official says.
Carle has had 18 lab-confirmed influenza cases since Nov. 26, with 13 of them in the last week.
There weren't any cases in October, and eight for the entire month of November, "so there is a definite trend going on here," said Dr. William Scott, head of occupational medicine and employee health at Carle.
All the patients were seen on Carle's main Urbana campus, some in the emergency room, Carle spokesman Sean Williams said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday reported an early start to flu season, with significant flu activity picking up around the U.S. in the last two weeks.
Carle started seeing an upswing last week, Scott said, and he projects the area will likely see more illness activity before Christmas than last year.
It's not too late to get a flu shot, he says.
The CDC advises an annual flu shot for everyone six months and older as the best protection against the flu.