Flu cases continue to rise across the US

Frederick Owens
January 13, 2018

In Minnesota the flu season is nearing its peak with over 1700 flu-related hospitalizations, 55 outbreaks at nursing homes and 43 schools in the last week.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says 36 people have died with reported influenza-like symptoms this season, up from the 13 deaths reported the same time past year.

That being said, the flu shot also protects against H1N1 and influenza B, which are circulating this year and tend to have a higher vaccine effectiveness than H3N2, Brammer says.

"We always have to remember that the Flu, although very common and we see it every year, is the most deadly virus", says Dr. Harkins. It was the 11th leading cause of death in the state in 2016.

Five more people in North Texas have died due to the flu according to health officials.

Another eight people, all older adults, have died from influenza in Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. In just the past week, hospitalizations have nearly doubled, going from 13.7 per 100,000 to 22.7 per 100,000. More than half of those patients have been diagnosed with influenza, Central Health said Friday. If residents are having a hard time fighting the flu, Andrews encouraged them to see their physician for better care. "Whether we will reach that level this year we don't know", Jernigan said.

Even though the vaccine may not be well matched, it doesn't mean you shouldn't get a flu shot, CDC officials say.

Since the flu virus can spread through coughing or sneezing, it is especially important for family members and people who have regular contact with high-risk individuals to be vaccinated.

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Officials said the current flu vaccine has little effect on the H3N2 strain that leads to particularly severe symptoms. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect.

"It seems like it worked, which is great", she said.

Flu activity varies across the state.

But he says health authorities have been prepared for this time of year.

Flu season is well on its way to peaking early.

The number of people seeing health care professionals because of influenza-like illnesses-defined as a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with a cough or a sore throat-is almost double as many as past year.

"The volumes of patients coming in increased dramatically during Christmas week", White said.

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