Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Peak of flu season

Peak of flu season

As the current flu season unfolds, health officials locally and nationally continue to see the number of cases and deaths rise, with a level of uncertainty as to if the season has reached its peak.

In Spokane County, for example, 430 people have been hospitalized and 23 deaths have been reported, according to the Spokane Regional Health District.

In Atlanta, there were 15,000 hospitalizations due to the flu virus which means nearly 2 times more than in the past years' flu outbreaks, according to the local CDC office.

This year's flu season has been driven by a strain that tends to put more people in the hospital and caused more deaths than other common flu bugs, the Associated Press reports.

The total number of deaths so far this season is more than than five times the 25 flu-related deaths for a similar period previous year.

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Current flu activity in the state is considered high and widespread, according to the state's health department.

The two people who died were older and had been vaccinated against the flu.

During the 2016-2017 flu season, 44.2 percent of MI residents were vaccinated against flu.

Officials say the number of people showing up at emergency departments due to the flu has decreased within the last week from six to five percent.

In the Tri-Cities, officials reported four additional deaths, bringing the total to 12 since mid-December. Two children between the ages of 5 and 18 have also died from flu related causes.

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All were at higher risk because of advanced age and/or underlying health issues. Moreover, more than 50 school bus drivers got flu and called in sick.

"The flu is incredibly hard to predict and as we said, that flu seasons can range from 11 to 20 weeks", Schuchat said.

"I think in the last week we saw some decrease (in cases), but we've seen that before".

"This season continues to surprise us", Haselow said.

Frequent hand-washing and avoiding contact with those who may have the flu is recommended.

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