2 pediatric flu deaths among 36 reported in Kentucky

Ebony Scott
January 14, 2018

The CDC expects the 2017-2018 flu epidemic is shaping up to be the most deadly since 2009-2010 swine flu epidemic that killed 284,000 people worldwide and 657 Californians.

State health officials have declared the infection widespread in virtually all counties - including Nassau and Suffolk - as flu trackers continue to document the course of what so far is described as an unpredictable season.

It's not too late to get a flu shot, and the Sevier County Health Department is offering about 450 vaccinations for free, Director Jana Chambers said.

OSDH reports a total of 22 deaths and more than 1,000 hospitalizations associated with the flu since the season began in September.

They called that number "alarming" because it's so early in the season. While there is no doubt the number of cases reported are higher than they were a year ago at this time, it's possible both Boone County and Missouri are simply hitting an early peak in reported cases.

Long-term care residents are all vaccinated, pushing the rate among people 65 and up to 90 per cent, he said, while 98 per cent of children get a shot. This means that 13 of the 17 regions of the commonwealth had confirmed flu cases in the last reporting week, which ended December 30. Of the 8,432 cases tested in the flu year's 13 week ending January 6, there were 3,269, or 38.8 percent, that were tested positive for influenza. Antiviral medications can be prescribed to all hospitalized, severely ill and high-risk patients with confirmed or suspected flu, but the drugs work best when treatment is started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. "And as you probably know, the number of confirmed, documented cases is a fraction of the total cases in Kentucky".

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"If you do become unwell with flu or flu-like symptoms, you should stay at home - most cases of flu are likely to be mild and can be managed at home with over-the-counter remedies", she said. In 2015, 782 cases were reported, and in 2016, there were 1,452 cases. Even if the vaccine doesn't match the strain going around, it can still help.

Peak flu activity, according to the DPH, is expected to be in mid-February.

This year's flu shot isn't as effective against a strain of the illness known as H3N2, but there is still good reason to get it. Although someone may have already been diagnosed with the flu, it's still worth getting the vaccination, Teacutter explained.

The number of cases is now at the highest in three years, but still nearly 50% lower than the swine flu outbreak of 2010. Many health plans cover the cost of the vaccine with no copay.

Haggie says the flu vaccine is provided by the federal government, so there's really nothing the province can do to help with the effectiveness of the vaccine. For more information about the flu visit the CDC's website.

Other reports by GizPress

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