Alabama experiences high influenza-like illness activity; flu shots still recommended

Judith QuinnFeb 20, 2017

February has seen a rise in flu cases across the state with over 200 schools reporting a 10% absentee rate and the influenza death toll in Iowa is now at 25 deaths since October 2016.

Eight more people died of complications from the flu in North Carolina last week, bringing the death toll for the season to 32, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. That's not bad since the bug that's making most people sick is one of the worst.

Public health authorities, by the way, are saying there are weeks left in this year's flu season, and you should still get the shot if you haven't yet.

Influenza vaccine is still available across OH as flu-like illness continues to increase and the number-of associated hospitalizations remains high. Last season in Dane County (between November 2015 and May 2016), there were 425 flu-related hospitalizations. "Widespread" activity means that cases have been reported in all areas of the state.

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies how well the flu vaccine protects against flu illness.

This is shaping up as a moderately severe flu season, he added. The predominate flu strain circulating this season is H3N2, which tends to cause more severe flu seasons, with more hospitalizations and deaths from the flu, compared with seasons when other strains predominate, according to the CDC. There must be a new vaccine each year based on strains of flu that are expected to circulate.

Wells also said the city saw its first case of Zika virus - which was travel-related and not acquired in Lubbock - in January.

"Influenza activity may have peaked where there were early peaks in the Northwest and on the West Coast", said Flannery.

The flu shot is an inactivated influenza vaccine. "It seems like it's similar to the 2012-2013 season, which was a season with millions of cases and about 60,000 hospitalizations and 2,000 deaths".

Image credit: Monet / Fotolia / EmpowHer " There is still time to go out and get it.

But Health District 1 - the Panhandle - isn't far behind with 13 deaths.

Dr. Bryson Bowman with Star ER said he noticed an uptick starting about a month ago and diagnosis of the flu have only continued to increase. Older adults also get less benefit from flu vaccines than healthy younger people.

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