Tamiflu shortage hits Florida as flu activity continues to rise

By Jeff Tavss - Executive Producer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - As flu activity continues to rise in Florida, several pharmacies in the state are running out of Tamiflu, a key weapon in the fight of influenza.

The shortages are currently affecting north, central and southwest Florida.

"Due to the recent spike in flu activity in Northeast Florida, we are experiencing greater demand for antiviral medications used to treat influenza," said a Walgreens statement. "While we are taking additional measures in an effort to help meet patient demand at this time, some of our pharmacies in the area may not have all versions or strengths of Tamiflu available."

Instead of slowing down, flu activity continues to rise in Florida as communities deal with more outbreaks than in previous years.

The Florida Department of Health's latest flu report shows flu activity increased sharply during the third week of 2018, and was above prior peak seasons.

52 outbreaks were reported in Florida between Jan. 14-20, for a total of 159 cases since the start of the 2017-18 season. Activity nationwide is also increasing, with the Centers for Disease Control saying this flu season has yet to peak.

Dylan Winnik, a 12-year-old West Palm Beach boy, died Tuesday, just 3 days after coming down with flu symptoms. Winnik is the third child to die in the state from the flu this season.

Gulf County in the state's panhandle ordered its public schools closed on Friday due to numerous student and teacher absences this week. The schools will be sanitized and are scheduled to reopen on Monday.

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