The number of influenza cases reported in Cape Girardeau County last year decreased more the ninety-nine percent compared to the previous year, according to data released this week by the Cape Girardeau County, health officials say. Meanwhile, positive tests for sexually transmitted diseases in the county increased by twenty-five percent over the same period. The health center’s 2020 communicable disease report revealed that there were just twelve reported cases of influenza in Cape Girardeau County during all of 2020, while in 2019 the county had 2,028 reported cases. County health officials believe COVID-19 — and more specifically the steps people took to avoid it — contributed to the small number of reported influenza cases. It is also possible, they said, that because influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory viruses, physicians and medical facilities in the county simply ordered fewer tests for influenza last year, opting to test for the SARS Co-V coronavirus instead. As for the increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), officials say it’s possible people were more sexually active last year when they stayed home during the height of the pandemic. Between 300 and 350 tests for STDs were performed at the health center in each of the last two years, with 60 positive tests reported in 2019 and 81 positive cases in 2020. Among communicable diseases reportable to state health authorities, there were a total of 35 cases of chronic hepatitis C infections in the county last year compared to 36 in 2019, leading all reportable categories in both years. The health center’s annual data document also noted there were 72 animal bites reported in 2020 — 57 dog bites and 15 cat bites — down from 2019’s total of 110 animal bites — 92 by dogs, 17 by cats and one by a rabbit.