Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Has flu season, in full swing, reached its height?

Flu hospitalizations in Pueblo spike Minnesota confirms first child death this flu season
Melinda Barton | 14 January, 2018, 13:51

This has been a severe flu season, with many patients experiencing flu earlier in the season and record numbers of people being infected.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released its latest flu report, and MS is one of 22 states with an increase in the number of reported flu cases.

"Flu is widespread and elevated in LA County", said Dr. Sharon Balter, director of Acute Communicable Disease Control.

In all, 42 people have died so far this flu season in California, health officials reported, and all were those under the age of 65. But that only means the first half of the season has passed.

On Tuesday, Dr Sands urged Bahamians to take warnings related to the H3N2 flu strain seriously. "There's lots of flu in lots of places", said Daniel Jernigan, director of CDC's influenza division.

Nationwide during the first week of 2018, 5.8 percent of all patient visits reported through the influenza surveillance network were due to influenza-like symptoms.

The main strains circulating continue to be flu A (H3N2), known as Aussie flu, A (H1N1), known as swine flu, and flu B.

A severe flu outbreak is filling Alabama hospitals and emergency rooms, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency.

MDMH has had a few people admitted with severe influenza cases and related complications since December, which is earlier than previous year, when the first hospitalizations occurred in March, Merritt said. The deaths were from compatible illnesses confirmed to be influenza by laboratory or rapid diagnostic tests.

There have been 13 deaths at least partly attributable to influenza in Maine through January 11, according to the Maine CDC.

Flu has been considered "widespread" in Idaho since December. That data will be made available sometime in February, but Jernigan said they will be more effective than what Australia saw during its flu season in 2017, when effective rates were at 10 percent.

"This is not a live vaccine, so you can never get it", he said.

"We don't want to hand it out to everyone, we will create resistance if we do that", said Barret Procyshyn, president of Pharmacists Manitoba. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, but remains the best way to prevent illness and flu complications, including those that can lead to hospitalization.

Merritt notes that influenza is spread by droplets, which can spread the virus even before any symptoms begin, and a person can be infectious for up to two weeks afterward.

Regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with the inside of one's elbow, and reducing stress also will protect and limit the effects of seasonal flu. The CDC is expecting this year's vaccine to be 30% effective.

A state of emergency declaration by Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday, he said, raises the level of awareness of what the situation is, and has a practical affect of making it easier for hospitals to use flexibility to deal with certain types of problems.