Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Flu Cases Show Signs Of Decreasing From Late December Highs

Flu Cases Show Signs Of Decreasing From Late December Highs

But, many North Carolinians go the entire flu season without getting vaccinated.

Unfortunately, the flu season probably won't start winding down anytime soon, Schuchat added.

Several more weeks of increased flu activity could continue before the epidemic begins to subside said the CDC's acting director.

A special education teacher in Texas is reportedly on life support after contracting both strains of influenza, as the worst flu season in years engulfs the United States. There have been a lot of improvements in the last 10 to 15 years, but we need to do much better. Flu-related hospitalizations in Erie County remain extremely high.

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"Right now, we're focused on one class of antiviral drug, but we should be looking at combination therapies and other modalities, such as host-directed therapies", said Timothy Uyeki, MD, of the CDC in Atlanta.

Alicia Budd, an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, provided the latest update on flu activity for clinicians last week, using data based on the most recent report for week 4, ending on January 27.

Cases of influenza-like activity also continued to increase, with 7.7 percent of patient visits related to flu-like illness during the week ending February 3, up from 7.2 percent of visits the previous week.

Statistics like this haven't been seen since the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. So far, the number of child fatalities associated with the illness has climbed to over 60.

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This year's strain has been more severe in adults 65 and older and people under the age of 25, Mihalik said. Doctors said we are seeing a strain shift. "This years' virus isn't new in terms of antigenic risk. In fact, we may be on track to beat some recent records. flu is incredibly hard to predict, and we don't know if we have hit the peak yet". They also noted that even with reduced vaccine effectiveness, vaccination may still prevent some flu illnesses, medical visits and hospitalizations.

"The vaccine is not as good of a match for that particular strain this year, so the virus can mutate and it can tend to have the vaccine be less effective and therefore more flu gets spread around", Rubin said.

"Students who have not (gotten) the flu vaccine and have not experienced influenza-like symptoms yet should consider receiving the flu vaccine", said Dr. Marshall in an email interview.

Howard Jacobson, the vice president of the LI Pharmacist Society who owns three pharmacies, says this kind of legislation is badly needed. Norman Edelman, senior scientific advisor for the American Lung Association, told HealthDay. Symptoms can include fever, congestion, cough, sore throat and body aches.

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