Hospitals struggle to keep pace as flu outbreak peaks
14 January, 2018, 13:56
Last week, the PHA stated that there had been 185 cases of flu traced to the AH3 flu group, of which the A (H3N2) "Aussie Flu" is one strain, between the start of the flu season in October and December. Additionally, she said this strain, H3N2, seems to be more virulent, meaning it's more contagious than other strains we've seen recently.
The flu strain now causing the most infections is H3N2, an influenza A virus that has been linked with increased hospitalizations and death, especially in young children and adults over age 65.
Officials with the Boise and West Ada school districts said they aren't seeing a spike in flu right now.
According to the latest data from Manitoba Health, 17 people have died from outcomes associated with influenza since the start of the 2017-2018 season, nearly double the number of deaths from the previous week.
While the Centers for Disease Control is calling this year's flu season an epidemic, doctors with the CDC said every flu season is normally an epidemic.
"We appreciate the community's cooperation as we impose these restrictions", said Karen Zimmerman, chief nurse officer.
Canada-wide, there have been 54 flu-related deaths so far this winter. For the latest FluView report on Friday that covered the week that ended January 6, the level of people reporting influenza-like illness remained at 5.8 percent, which was not quite at the 6 percent level reported in the flu season of 2014-2015. "But in all fairness, this is the busiest I have ever seen it for seasonal influenza", Nafzinger said. Fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and vomiting and diarrhea, which is more common in young children than adults.
The National Center for Immunization Research and Surveillance says the low number of vaccinated Australian children - less than 10 percent in that country - is partly to blame. Complications, which may be serious, can include pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear and sinus infections.
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Data from the provincial report showed the vaccination rate in the province has climbed a measly 1% from 19%, but it's not too late. "From this, we can estimate how effective the vaccine was". It's not yet known how effective the vaccine is for this season.
The 15 deaths occurred in individuals age 65 or older.
MS is one of 22 states with a high flu rate in the current flu season.
Bennett, the Maine CDC epidemiologist, said that older populations are more at risk, especially those in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living centers. If a person is healthy, it is OK to visit, according to a statement from the hospital, but they are asked to wash their hands before and after visiting.
"We're hoping this is the peak, but we really can't say", said Bennett, noting that the flu is notoriously unpredictable.
Republican leaders were largely silent, though House Speaker Paul Ryan said the vulgar language was "very unfortunate, unhelpful". The "protest" is in reference to comments Mr Trump allegedly made during a White Oval meeting earlier this week.
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