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Health officials urge vaccination as flu cases increase

Confirmed cases double from last week

Confirmed flu cases in Wisconsin have nearly doubled in the last week as area health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called the outbreak an "epidemic." The latest numbers indicate more than 4,200 cases have been confirmed across the state, according to the state Department of Health Services. The number is up from approximately 2,800 last week.

The numbers are already far above last year's count, which reached about 2,000 total.

Dean Clinic and University of Wisconsin Health have both shifted staff to cover an uptick in requests for the flu vaccine. Both locations say they have ample supply and are still encouraging others to come in.

Milwaukee health officials noted the flu has not reached a critical level, but they will continue to monitor the illness closely. Officials added that area emergency rooms have seen tripled numbers compared to past years.

Pharmacies such as the Greenfield Pick N' Save have seen increased business since Christmas, with individuals coming in to purchase Tamiflu and other medicine.

Near Rhinelander, school officials said at least one in five children have reported both respiratory and stomach bugs. Parents have reportedly kept their students home as a protective measure against the sickness that appears to be going around.

Wisconsin police have also taken extra precautions to avoid the flu. Green Bay police handed out masks for officers to wear this week when dealing with individuals who may have flu-like symptoms. Deputies in Brown County did the same.

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