Flu is widespread but season may be peaking — CDC

Pauline Gross
January 13, 2018

The 19 CommUnityCare Health Centers in Travis County report they have received up to 90 patients a day with flu-like symptoms since mid-December, according to Central Health, which funds the centers. But it's pretty close and it's far from over.

The CDC said this is the first time in 13 years every state in the continental U.S.is being hit with widespread flu.

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Individuals who are at high risk for developing the flu are also strongly encouraged not to enter the hospital except to receive medical care. "Ask for a mask when visiting the hospitals and staff will be glad to provide one for you".

But while no one disputes this is a bad year for flu, Jernigan said it's too early to tell if this flu season is more severe than recent seasons, including the 2014-2015 season.

While flu season is three months in, the county recommends that all county residents older than 6 months get a flu shot if they haven't done so already.

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Haggie says there are suggestions that one of the four strains of the virus contained in this year's influenza vaccine is less than flawless.

Doctors also say research suggests that even if the vaccine doesn't prevent someone from getting the flu, it could help lessen the symptoms.

Dan Jernigan, the director of the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the season is "very active", and there are early indicators it may be severe. "They have patients who are waiting for rooms", Harris said. "It's looking a lot like the activity from 2014/2015 and 2012/2013".

The other 20 percent of cases have been a serious strain of the flu that's predominant across the nation, Berg said. That's a strain that is going to be associated with more cases, more hospitalizations and death.

After a record number of influenza cases in St. Louis County in the last week of 2017, the numbers have dipped, but only slightly. In just the past week, hospitalizations have nearly doubled, going from 13.7 per 100,000 to 22.7 per 100,000. It usually doesn't start until mid-January, but this year, we started seeing cases around November.

"CDC has been in regular contact with influenza antiviral manufacturers regarding supply and other issues", he said. "[For example], B viruses will be showing later in the season, [which is] another reason why to go ahead and get vaccinated now if you have not gotten vaccinated".

Other reports by GizPress

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