Tampa Bay hospitals, schools overwhelmed by serious flu outbreak

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Outbreaks of the flu or flu-like symptoms have been reported at 14 public/charter schools and two private schools in Hillsborough County this flu season, Kevin Watler, a spokesman with the Florida Department of Health told News Channel 8.

Meanwhile, the Pediatric Emergency Room is bustling with activity at Florida Hospital Tampa.

“Four to five nurses depending on our day and it’s very [busy] from start to finish.  I come in at 7 a.m.  We leave at 7 p.m.  And there’s been days where it’s been straight through. Just continuous. Flu symptoms. Cold symptoms. Upper respiratory illnesses,” said Meaghen Hampton, an ER nurse.

Hospital staff tells us the number of flu cases treated at that location has gone up significantly over the last few weeks.

So far this year, doctors and nurses have dealt with at least 461 kids with the flu.

In Manatee County, absences are up by approximately 1,000 students in just the last two weeks, a school district spokesman tells News Channel 8.

Parent Janice Davis spent Friday at the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa.

She knows wherever there are lots of kids, there are a lot of germs, but she’s confident her two kids, and the other three who are spending the day with them, won’t get the flu.

“It can spread if you don’t have that hope, but I know that I’m not getting it.  It can spread.  We’re not getting it.  We’re safe,” Davis said.

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