February 21, 2019

Flu widespread across most of USA, with 3 new kids' deaths

26 January 2019, 09:57 | Silvia Roy

This season’s flu shot effective enough to block 7 of 10 cases: BC CDC

Health officials encourage Albertans to get their 'very effective' flu shot

A review of health tracking data by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield says there are more than a thousand fewer cases of flu so far this season in NY than at this point last flu season.

"Vaccinated people can still get the flu but develop a milder illness than if they didn't get the vaccine". In fact, studies show that flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu illness by up to 60 percent. "We'd like to have another 20 or 30 more if we could, particularly we need more representation in the north of the province", he said.

The flu season typically peaks between Christmas and New Year's Eve, said Waters.

Many people thought the flu season was over, however, it was never officially announced as being over and Waters said a second wave of the H1N1 influenza strain hit about three weeks ago. This is down significantly from this time past year when between 10 and 12 percent of visits were linked to influenza. "The flu season is not over".

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Pedati attributed the flu shot to aiding this season's lower numbers. "It's pretty unusual to see young, otherwise healthy people die of the flu in non-pandemic years, but it does happen".

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that children younger than 5 years and children of any age with certain long-term health problems are at high risk of complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.

"We are continuing to see flu circulate, with early signs that activity is peaking".

There have been seven outbreaks in long-term care facilities investigated and seven schools across the state reported more than 10 percent absenteeism due to illness since the start of the flu season on August 30.

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The mid-season vaccine efficacy estimate was only 20 per cent past year during the H3N2-dominant flu epidemic, the study said.

As of January 12, more than 600 children aged 16 and under had been hospitalized, with 93 of them ending up in intensive care and at least seven - all under age 10 - dying from complications of the flu, says the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

A seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for everyone aged six months and older. He says it is important that as we reach peak flu season that people who are sick stay home, especially ill school children. Other symptoms to watch for may include chest congestion, loss of appetite, cough, sore throat and runny nose.

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