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Holiday Travel Could Help Spread The Flu

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
Stephanie is an Emmy Award winning veteran reporter for CBS 11 N...
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NILES, IL - NOVEMBER 16:  George Rodriguez, RN draws a dose of flu vaccine prior to administering vaccinations at the Maine Town Hall November 16, 2004 in Niles, Illinois. The flu shot program was organized by Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and was an appointment-only event.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Influenza has arrived in North Texas, and the director of health and human services for Dallas County is urging people to get their flu shots. Health department head Zachary Thompson briefed Dallas County leaders on Tuesday morning, saying that he is concerned about the holiday travel season.

But so far, the county is seeing a typical pattern of influenza, Thompson said. There is no big outbreak that comes anywhere near what was seen in 2009.

Dallas County still has around 3,000 doses of flu vaccine available for low income families. They began with 10,000 doses supplied by the manufacturers. But when those remaining doses are gone, that will be it, Thompson said. Officials cannot order any more.

“Travel is an issue,” said Thompson. “Across the United States, you don’t know where flu outbreaks could be occurring, and so the fact that you are traveling to other parts of the country, you’re mingling with people, you come back here and so there goes the virus and it spreads.”

Thompson added that those who do not get the flu vaccine at a county facility are still able to receive them at area pharmacies. This is one reason that North Texas has been able to avoid another massive outbreak.

Dallas County and Tarrant County have both reported 49 positive flu cases so far this season. Denton County has reported 28 positive cases and Collin County has reported 29 positive cases of the flu. Those totals were last reported on December 7.

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