Widespread flu forces Anderson Hospital to implement visitor restrictions

Ellen Mills
December 30, 2017

The goal is "to manage/screen an influx of walk-in flu patients today", the hospital said in a statement to KNSD Thursday.

Officials say late January and early February form the peak of flu season.

Influenza activity is widespread in Chautauqua County just as it is throughout the state and nation.

A media release from the ADPH reminds the public that the flu is a very contagious respiratory illness, with symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.

This season's vaccine is only 10 percent effective against the H3N2 strain in Australia, the dominant strain of influenza.

Flu vaccinations are available at a primary care doctor's office, many local pharmacies or the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services' Public Health Clinics. But it's hard to track exact numbers because only a certain percentage of people with flu symptoms go the hospital for testing.

"Across SLO County, we're seeing more confirmed cases of the flu than usual, and more people are visiting the emergency room because of the flu", according to a county statement.

In addition to the child, 11 adult flu-related deaths have been reported in North Carolina this season, which began October 1.

'There is not much we can do on a state level, ' said Anton, 'it's an every-year epidemic'. "H3N2 viruses continue to predominate". And, whenever this strain of flu virus has caused most of the sickness, more hospitalizations and deaths occurred in both young children and in people 65 and older, compared to other age groups.

Nationwide, 12 children have died due to flu this season, while a total of 2,485 flu-related hospitalizations - almost nine for every 100,000 people - have been reported so far. They note the best way to prevent the spread of influenza is to cover coughs and sneezes and to wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing into them.

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