Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Flu-related deaths in Travis County rise to 11

Flu-related deaths in Travis County rise to 11

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said the season's tally now surpasses the 15 deaths during the swine flu outbreak of 2009-2010.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, significant influenza activity has been reported in 55 of the state's 67 counties, including Madison, Morgan, Limestone, Jackson and Marshall counties.

Five more Dallas County people have died from flu-related illness, bringing the total to 23 dead in one of the area's worst flu seasons in decades, Dallas County Health and Human Services said Wednesday.

"In most years, a flu season lasts anywhere from six weeks to eight weeks to 10 weeks in any particular place, so we're not yet at peak, but we're hearing from hospitals across the state that many are full".

The lone flu death in Marin County this year involved a person under 65, and it's not known if the person was vaccinated. People who are at high-risk for flu complications, such as young children, pregnant woman and elderly people, may need a prescription antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu or Relenza, the news release said.

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But in an update on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said patient traffic for flu at US hospitals was no longer skyrocketing the way it was in December.

The prominent strain this year is AH3N2, which IDPH Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said is known to cause serious illness, hospitalization and deaths. "Even when it's not the effective, it does prime the immune system for a better response in case you get the disease".

"We know this is a very active year, but we don't know yet if it's a severe year", Jernigan said.

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.

"If you do have flu symptoms, such as fever, coughs, sore throat and muscle aches, then stay home".

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Safranek recommended people seek a doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics if they get the flu.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

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