Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Flu activity level could exceed the pandemic flu year of 2009

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Andrew Cummings | 10 February, 2018, 06:45

"I wish there was better news this week, but nearly everything we're looking at is bad news", Schuchat said at a news conference.

Schuchat made the remarks during a media briefing this morning.

- Right now, we're in the middle of flu season, and at the Osceola County Department of Health, workers gave out 300 free influenza shots on Friday. By every major indicator used by the CDC, flu activity is rising and not falling.

The number of lab-confirmed influenza cases in the State of NY continued to climb sharply during the most recent surveillance period*, the state Department of Health reported Thursday.

Hospitalizations are "significantly higher" than the devastating 2014/15 season and with several more weeks of flu season she said "more deaths are likely to happen". Based on a recent Canadian report, the effectiveness against B strain viruses is estimated to be about 55%.

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The primary type of influenza this year hasn't changed enough from previous seasons to be considered a novel strain, Schuchat said. Flu seasons dominated by H3N2 tend to be more severe and result in more hospitalizations. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu shot, as it helps reduce the chance of illness and can also lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do get sick. Schuchat said it isn't too late to be vaccinated against influenza, and even those patients who have been infected with influenza A this season could benefit from immunization, since people can get sick a couple of times. Adults 65 and older had the highest hospitalization rate, which is typical. As many as 63 children are reported to have succumbed.

When it comes to the flu and how widespread it's been this season, Georgia is now ranked the sickest state with SC coming in at a close second. Reports have shown it may be able to prevent only about one in 10 flu cases. "Vaccination is the best way to protect our community from the potentially deadly effects of the flu virus". "I ask all New Yorkers to take advantage of this expanded access to flu vaccines and join us in slowing down and stopping the spread of this virus in the Empire State".

With a lousy chance of being protected against H3N2 this year, why get the flu shot?

At Doctors Hospital of Augusta, the tide of misery has yet to turn, said Dr. Thomas Zickgraf, medical director of the Emergency Department. "But the elderly, pregnant women, and other high-risk groups should be seen".

While the current rates do not mean we're having a pandemic, she said, this is "a signal of how very intense this season has been".

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