Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Flu cases continue to spike in Washoe County, health dept. says

Flu cases continue to spike in Washoe County, health dept. says

The DPH urged people to still get the vaccine because it can still help.

A severe flu outbreak is filling Alabama hospitals and emergency rooms, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency.

"The CDC is definitely telling everybody to still get the flu shot, that there is a benefit", Grayson said, may it be faster recovery time, milder symptoms and more.

Many of these patients are here because of the flu. H3N2 is associated with more severe illness, especially among children and the elderly. This should include avoiding going to work, school and other public places while ill, and limiting visits to people in nursing homes or hospitals.

"There are 22.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 people", he said, "up from 13.7 last week".

The federal Centers for Disease Control is recommending vaccines for all persons six months of age and older. In the last week, hospitalizations of children under five have nearly doubled and there were seven more pediatric deaths, bringing the season total to 20.

MSDH reported the flu season typically peaks in January until March, but this year's flu activity is already unusually high.

"Our surveillance team has been doing this for 13 years and this is the first time the continental U.S. has been the same color in the graph", Jernigan said. Annual hospitalizations range from 140,000 to 710,000 and deaths are estimated between 12,000 and 56,000 each year. Friday, the agency said seven more children have died from flu complications, bringing the total number to 20 pediatric deaths. "While our flu vaccines are far from ideal, they are the best way to prevent getting sick from the flu and it is not too late to get one", Fitzgerald said.

"It seems like it worked, which is great", she said.

But, the vaccines are "far from ideal", Fitzgerald said. Although the shot this year is showing relatively low effectiveness because of variations in the predominant H3N2 influenza A virus, it's still far better than no shot.

"We are also seeing a lot of people dying from the flu", Alvarez said.

The statistics prompted doctors to tell people to take precautions.

Dr. Harkins says covering your mouth when you cough with the inner-side of your elbow and washing your hands are good ways to prevent spreading the virus.

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