Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Health Dept.'s Numbers Show 2 Additional Flu Deaths

CDC Flu map-click to enlarge CDC Flu map-click to enlarge
Patty Aguilar | 08 February, 2018, 01:33

All were at higher risk because of advanced age and/or underlying health issues.

Wichita schools reported a spike in illnesses in their students, though it's almost impossible to tell how many students specifically caught the flu this year, spokeswoman Susan Arensman previously told The Eagle.

This has been a particularly bad flu season all across the country. "It's like wearing a seatbelt", David Hylsky, an epidemiologist with the Panhandle Health District, said.

What is clear is that the Tri-Cities has been hit hard, with a high number of flu cases and deaths.

Sixteen children died from the flu last week, including seven-year-old Savanna Jessie of Columbus, Indiana.

Annually, between 600,000 and 2.4 million people come down with the flu in Pennsylvania and between 120 and 2,000 die.

Dr. Burnestine Taylor, ADPH's medical officer in disease control and prevention, said investigations into all adult deaths are ongoing and have not been definitively confirmed as flu-related.

"This is the busiest flu season that I can recall since being in business since 1978", said pharmacist Gerry Acampora, owner of North Haven Pharmacy.

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Harris says we are in week 9, just barely halfway through flu season.

In Kansas, more than 12 percent of Kansans who went to see a doctor had an influenza-like illness last week, according to the KDHE.

This year's flu season has already killed 53 children and hospitals are overflowing with patients. All 600 of the free shots had been used before New Year's, and at the time of this article, only 36 of the shots available for sale remained.

It's not clear yet whether this season - the season begins in early October and lasts 32 weeks - has reached its peak. According to the CDC, the vaccine was 48 percent effective in 2016-17 and 59 percent effective in 2015-16.

"We want to make sure that everyone out there is protected". But health officials say they can not accurately assess the effectiveness of the vaccine for at least another couple of weeks.

People also should wash their hands often, avoid touching their faces, cover their coughs and stay home when they're feeling sick to protect themselves and others, Dawson said. Symptoms of the flu can range from a runny nose, cough, sore throat, body aches, fever, fatigue and in some cases vomiting as well as diarrhea. It is likely that there are many more people actually affected than the report shows. However, it can lead to serious illness and death.

More than three quarters of the positive influenza specimens confirmed by MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories this flu season have been an H3N2 virus.

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