Counties getting extra state funds to fight the flu

Katrina Barker
February 10, 2018

The flu remains widespread in MS and the CDC says there may be many more weeks to go nationwide. This outbreak is now at or above epidemic level and is as bad as the swine flu outbreak of 2009. Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News medical correspondent, also expects a few more weeks of peak flu activity.

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.

It gets worse. According to the CDC, vaccine effectiveness can also vary among different age groups.

The flu epidemic remains widespread in almost all states, and experts say it could be a record-breaking season. In the Bay Area, many hospitals called in extra staff to cover the deluge of sick patients, or canceled elective surgeries to free up resources.

Additionally, the data show 1 out of every 10 people who died the USA over the last week died of either influenza or pneumonia, Schuchat said.

The vast majority of deaths come from people 65 years or older, with 128 deaths.

Nationally, that rate has climbed well above 7 percent, a rate that experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said was last seen during the H1N1 swine flu epidemic of 2009. This is the 11th week of intense flu.

This week, we received numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health, and eight of those deaths were in Chatham County. Pediatricians say they're inundated with panicked moms and dads concerned their sick child might have the flu.

Doctors are reporting that some patients have been infected with H3N2, the primary A strain of the flu, along with a B strain. The flu vaccine is less effective against H3N2 than other flu strains.

Plus, the flu vaccine is not especially strong against H3N2. And the flu activity rate this year is just barely behind that peak.

Figures released Thursday afternoon by the state Department of Public Health showed that flu activity in the state has reached the second-highest level the state has seen in at least the past decade.

But at the same time, reports of Influenza B infections are on the upswing, according to the CDC.

That's a somewhat good sign, since it likely means that the more virulent A strain is dropping off.

Laurie Lilley, nursing director for Bureau/Putnam/Marshall County Health Departments, said the vaccine won't eliminate the chances of catching the flu, but it could help reduce the risk. "It's the flu is nearly over and then there is sepsis or pneumonia", said John Mahan, Director of Nursing, Savannah Square.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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