Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Health Officials: 22 more die from flu in South Carolina

State health officials are urging Minnesotans to get their flu shot State health officials are urging Minnesotans to get their flu shot
Samantha Long | 17 February, 2018, 00:34

In Rhode Island, 24 people have died of flu-related illness so far this flu season. And the ineffectiveness of this year's flu vaccine is partly to blame.

Updated | This year's flu shot is only about 25 percent effective against the most common strain of influenza spreading throughout the United States, causing one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory.

Flu seasons span from the 40th week of one year to the 39th week of the following year.

Influenza A (H3N2) viruses continue to predominate within the USA and CT although influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses are also being reported.

So, asthmatics should consider getting a flu shot in addition to their monthly refills of Advair, Ventolin or other asthma-fighting pharmaceutical.

During the same period, public health laboratories tested 51,014 specimens for influenza virus, of which 84.1% (n=23,257) tested positive for influenza A and 15.9% (n=4,412) tested positive for influenza B viruses.

The Department of Health surveyed physician offices, pharmacies, SUNY Geneseo, and UR Medicine/Noyes Health to see which flu vaccine and how much of each are available.

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He added that older people generally have less effective immune systems and that many Americans over 65 are facing an extra challenge when it comes to H3N2.

Haverhill school superintendent James Scully sent a message home to parents urging anyone with kids who haven't been vaccinated to take advantage of the city's free flu shots.

The flu season is supposed to come to an end toward the start of spring. She says the case numbers in the state are higher than most flu seasons in recent years, but they are not almost as high as the peak seen in the 2009 through 2010 season. Especially avoid the elderly and very young who are more vulnerable to contract the flu and have a more hard challenge in fighting it. In particular, patients aged ≥6 months who have not been vaccinated this season should receive the vaccine.

All across the state, more and more incidents of influenza have been reported this year. "You want to make sure that you're not going to class if you're sick because you're putting your other classmates at risk for getting the flu", said Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider. The Jan. 9 report counted 100 new hospitalizations and seven deaths.

The vaccine offers the best protection from the flu and reduces severe outcomes should an individual become ill with the flu.

More people are also showing up with flu-like symptoms - 7.7 percent of all doctor visits, which hasn't been seen since 2003-04, with the exception of the H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic in 2009.

"This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for some people", said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel.

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