Flu cases double since a year ago

Ellen Mills
December 17, 2017

Already, the CDC has worked with over 60 countries to strengthen their surveillance and laboratory capacity to help inform practitioners which strains should be included in the seasonal flu vaccines developed each year.

In the United States last season, overall vaccine effectiveness against all circulating flu viruses was 39 percent and the effectiveness was only a bit lower, 32 percent, against H3N2 viruses.

At the time, public health said this flu season is expected to be more severe than usual based on the amount of flu activity seen earlier this year in the southern hemisphere.

He predicts the peak of flu season will hit sometime between late December and early March 2018. The flu vaccination has also shown to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes by 79 percent and those with chronic lung disease by 52 percent.

Influenza, referred to as the flu, is now prevalent in New York, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said this week, meaning that any healthcare workers who have not yet been vaccinated are required to wear masks around patients. "And remember, if it doesn't prevent the infection completely, it will modify the infection; it will make it milder, makes it less likely if you get flu that you have to go to the hospital, be admitted to the intensive care unit, or die".

"We are seeing a steadily increasing number of patients with influenza in the community and in the hospital", said Steve Lawrence, MD, Washington University infectious disease expert at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Because while the influenza may be at best uncomfortable for some people, it is deadly for some.

Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

More information on fighting the flu can be found here. Doctors explain that the young and the old are especially at risk for serious complications from the flu. One false misconception is that an individual can get flu from the vaccine. "Most insurances are paying for flu shots, so it's really not a cost to you".

Health officials say that flu season generally runs from October through May, often peaking in February.

Cases of flu and related illnesses have been reported as widespread in MA based on geographical cases in recent weeks.

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