ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The end of 2012 saw an early arrival of the flu season in Missouri.
Missouri health officials report nearly 8,000 influenza cases in the state between September and the end of the year. That’s up 1,600% over the five-year median of 470 annual cases.
Eastern Missouri was hit hardest in the state with 3,400 cases, a 3,700% increase.
St. Louis County has seen more than 1,200 cases while the count in St. Louis City is 869. The majority of cases in Missouri, 55%, were in children between the ages of 2 and 14.
More than the cold and snowy weather, health experts say close contact with a lot of people is known to help spread influenza.