Health Care

Texas Hit By Worst Flu Season in Decades

Texas Hit By Worst Flu Season in Decades

The predominant strain of flu circulating in Georgia and around the country is influenza A (H3N2). One possible reason is that H3N2 mutates faster than other flu viruses. "This is the normal seasonal flu that we typically see".

Alabama's governor, Kay Ivey, declared a state public health emergency yesterday because of rising flu levels in that state.

In the last week, doctors have seen an uptick in flu-related doctors visits while the rate of flu hospitalizations almost doubled. Adults over the age of 65 were most likely to be hospitalized, at a rate of 98.0 per 100,000 population, almost doubling last week's rate of 56.6.

Goldman says he is hoping for a peak in flu cases here in the next week or two or three, but says there a couple of things for Pennsylvanians to keep in mind until that break comes.

A simple runny nose and light cough are known to take the lives of children under 2, but healthy young adults are dying during this year's flu season.

Harris said hospitals in almost half of Alabama counties are at 90 percent of their patient capacity.

DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Patrick O'Neal advised that it is not too late to get a flu shot.

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The St. Louis County Department of Public Health reports 1,282 cases of influenza in the first week of January. Symptoms for this H3N2 strain include extreme fatigue, body aches and a respiratory infection that can last days. It is a minor illness for most people, but for some it can lead to hospitalization and death.

What is a flu pandemic, and is it likely to happen? "Tamiflu is used for the treatment of influenza-related complications and there is a short supply around the world", Dr Sands said. A flu pandemic like this one occurs when an especially virulent new influenza strain for which there's little or no immunity appears and spreads quickly from person to person around the globe.

"We continue to monitor the situation regarding elective surgical cancellations and assess the need on a day to day basis". Those older than age 65 are experiencing the highest hospitalization rates, but those age 50 to 64 also have seen high numbers.

"We think flu season will run for several more weeks", Safranek said.

Safranek said a vaccine for people with egg allergies, called Flublok seems to be more effective this year. In the United States last season, vaccine effectiveness was 39 percent overall, and 32 percent against H3N2 viruses. While their research and work is generally very effective, sometimes an unexpected mutation in the virus can cause a vaccine to be less effective.

While both the Aussie and Japanese flu affect all groups, the Aussie flu affects people mostly over the age of 65, while the Japanese flu can also affect children.


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