CDC: Flu activity high in Louisiana

15 December, 2017, 09:06 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • Murrieta child dies of flu-related complications

Influenza-like illnesses remain elevated in MA, similar to other areas of the country, according to the state's Department of Health report for the week of December 8.

The number and percentage of influenza A detection for the week are higher than in previous seasons, although similar to the 2014-15 season, the Flu Watch report states.

"Flu is increasing. We're seeing a pretty steep increase in influenza activity across the United States but especially in the South", said Brendan Flannery, a co-author of the new report and an epidemiologist in the CDC's flu division. The article cites reports from Australia, where there have been record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher than average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.

Over the last three seasons, there have been 19 pediatric influenza deaths in NY and an average of 11,183 influenza-related hospitalizations each season.

Dr Michael Osterholm, who directs The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told Business Insider that the vaccine is, at best, around 10 percent effective on H3N2.

More information on fighting the flu can be found here.

"People who are ill shouldn't visit someone in the hospital", said Val Cooper, ALMH manager of nursing operations.

"It takes about two weeks after being vaccinated for antibodies to develop in your body to protect you from the flu".

"If you get the flu shot, at least you've done everything in your power to keep from getting it", McCoy said.

More news: Tillerson: US Willing to Talk to N. Korea Without Preconditions

With flu cases on the rise across the country, local health officials urge people to get vaccinated.

According to Missouri health officials, as of November 25 there were 1,545 cases of the flu reported to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, compared to 379 cases reported during the same time previous year, when the 2016-2017 season saw more than 70,000 confirmed influenza cases in Missouri.

Public Health nurse Kelly McPhatter says the dominant strain of Influenza A this season is H3N2.

"We're seeing a pretty steep increase in influenza activity across the U.S. but especially in the south", co-author Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist in the CDC's flu division, told CNN.

According to an analysis published in the November 29 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, the flu vaccine is not as effective against this year's flu strain that is going around, H3N2, as it has been in previous flu seasons.

According to the CDC, flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40 percent and 60 percent overall when flu viruses are well matched to the vaccine.

In Connecticut, influenza A viruses are dominating in the state, as they are nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control are showing sharp increases in the number of positive tests for the virus. Persons over the age of 65 years will receive the seasonal flu vaccine free of charge.

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