Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Your Dog Can Get the Flu Too

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Melissa Porter | 27 January, 2018, 15:56

"The first [notable characteristic of this season] is that flu activity became widespread within nearly all states and jurisdictions at the same time", Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on a conference call Friday morning.

"Flu is now widespread throughout New York State and Ulster County".

Flu season typically lasts 20 weeks. "So we maybe getting to that level or maybe even surpass those numbers as the season progresses".

Dog owner Pedro Madera said he didn't think twice about vaccinating his two terriers and Pomeranian against dog flu.

For the entire flu season last year, there were 1,009 positive tests, a number the county has already surpassed this year. "That is why we have to adopt new influenza strains for the new vaccine every year".

However, hospitalization rates for people 50 to 64 - Baby Boomers, mostly - has been unusually high, CDC officials said.

"We would hope we are reaching that peak but we are monitoring closely", Dr. Jernigan said.

This year appears to be on track to be as severe as the 2014-15 flu season, when the main strain of flu circulating also was the H3N2 strains, which tends to cause more illnesses and deaths.

Especially for those people most susceptible to severe flu symptoms - elderly people, children and pregnant people - "it's still better being vaccinated than not vaccinated", she said.

"The first influenza virus somebody's exposed to as a child has way of determining how you respond to influenza for the rest of your life", said Jernigan, director of the Influenza Division at the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

"If somebody coughs, I'll guarantee they come tell me somebody's coughing and I have to go and check it out", said Gosseli.

Goldman said these patients do not die from the virus itself, but from the stress on the body that can worsen heart conditions or breathing issues such as emphysema.

According to data collected by the Department of Public Health monthly from October to May, 9.7 percent of emergency department visits as of last week were due to "fever/flu syndrome", which is considered high.

Doctors recommend that anyone over the age of six months get the flu shot.