Published: Tue, February 21, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

OSDH reports an increase in flu cases; vaccinations encouraged

48 percent effectiveness might not seem like a lot.

Americans who rolled up their sleeves for a flu shot this year cut their chances of coming down with the aches and fever of influenza by nearly half, a level of protection that is disappointing for a vaccine but still better than in some recent years.

Image credit: Monet / Fotolia / EmpowHer " There is still time to go out and get it. Flu vaccination may make your illness milder if you do get sick, and can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization including among children and older adults. Now that we are in peak flu season, make sure you're taking steps to prevent getting sick with the virus. The majority of samples tested in USA laboratories so far this year are similar to one of the components in the vaccine, offering greater protection than average since 2007, the agency said. "All we can do is just put the information out there as quickly as we get it so the doctors and the public know what's going on", said Zack Moore, an epidemiologist.

Dr. Bowman said about half of the patients he diagnosis with the flu, had their flu vaccine. Unlike other virus, like measles, a new vaccine must be developed each year based on strains of flu that are expected to circulate. To do so, they consider which pathogens could be the biggest problems for the particular season. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.

A total of 33,271 influenza cases and 51 flu-related fatalities have been reported to the Department of Health so far this season. Because of that, this has become the worst flu season in Idaho since 2000's.

The deaths were the most in a week since the flu season began last fall and included the second child.

Specifically, the CDC advises early treatment with oseltamivir for anyone at risk for suffering flu complications, a group that includes "65 and older, young children, people with underlying compromising health conditions" and those who are hospitalized, according to Flannery.

Of the 619 confirmed cases of influenza since October 1 - the date considered the start of the season - 188 have been in people 65 years and older, with 95 of those requiring hospitalization. Every year, influenza contributes to an estimated 36,000 deaths in the United States, along with more than 200,000 hospitalizations.

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