The H1N1 flu strain is hitting southeastern Michigan, sending patients to the hospital in greater numbers compared to last year.
As of Thursday, there have been 123 flu hospitalizations, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Thirty-nine of those cases were children.
Most of the cases labs are seeing nationwide are H1N1 and involve previously healthy middle-aged adults younger than 65 who were not vaccinated, said Mary Mazur, Wayne County Health Department spokeswoman.
From October, the beginning of the 2013-14 flu season, until now, Wayne County has had 250 lab-reported flu cases, most of which — more than 100 — have been in the past couple of weeks. No flu-related deaths have been reported, Mazur said.
In Macomb, 153 flu cases and two deaths have been reported since the beginning of this month, said Gary White, Macomb County Health Department deputy health officer.
Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division health officer, said her department had no flu updates Friday afternoon.
The MDCH said labs have confirmed 169 Michigan cases this season, compared with 338 a year earlier.
But department spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said there are 190 reported hospitalizations so far this season, up from 115 a year earlier.
During the 2012-13 flu season, more than 40 percent of Michigan’s residents were vaccinated, MDCH officials said. But only 9 percent of residents ages 18-24 and 11 percent of residents between 25-49 received the flu vaccine.
The health department has said it hopes people will take the virulence of this season’s virus as a warning to get vaccinated.
Flu cases are typically under-reported, Mazur said.
“Not everyone will go to the doctor. Not everyone will claim they had the flu even if they had the symptoms. Some may have had the flu and deny they had it and say they had a 48-hour bug,” Mazur said.
“It tends not to be a popular social topic.”
The center recommends flu shots for those 6 months and older.
Seasonal influenza generally peaks between January and April, Michigan health department officials say.