State health officials issue warning; latest flu trends "alarming"

State health officials issue warning; latest flu trends

While the numbers seem to be soaring this year, it is possible Missouri is hitting an early peak this flu season.

Flu-related deaths in Kentucky are defined by fatalities that have a positive flu test, Lincoln Trail District Health Department Senior Epidemiologist David L. Day said.

Rates of people age 50 and older that needed to be hospitalized for influenza spiked significantly in recent weeks from 15.4 to 24, said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases influenza division, during a media conference call Friday.

But although there has been a spike in flu cases in Canada and the USA, so far Newfoundland and Labrador has been largely spared, although half a dozen people have been sick enough to be hospitalized.

"So we're not yet in peak season and what we're hearing from hospitals across the state is that they have no extra beds and they are full of patients that have influenza like symptoms", Cartter said.

Thus far, all local flu cases have been of a strain known as H3N2, which this year's flu shot does fight, Eiting said.

The 15 deaths occurred in individuals age 65 or older.

With a couple of months left in flu season, more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been vaccinated than previous year, says the province's health minister.

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The percentage of hospital admissions due to pneumonia also have risen above the 4 percent baseline statewide, officials say.

The California Department of Public Health reported that for the first 13 weeks of the 2017-2018 influenza season ending January 6, total epidemic deaths for people younger than age 65 spiked from 27 to 42. Many areas report three to four times as many cases as they did past year. The state may be four to six weeks away from seeing a peak.

California provides weekly public health epidemic tracking through 68 enrolled "Sentinel Providers" (physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) located in all 58 California counties. Last year, the flu vaccine was 39 percent effective.

The total number of flu cases in the state at the end of previous year was at 71,469. DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Patrick O'Neal advised that it is not too late to get a flu shot. "Getting the flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself and others from flu". The traditional flu season lasts from October through May.

While there have been reports the vaccine has been less effective than normal this year, Chambers said it can still help even if the vaccine was designed for a different strain.

Flu vaccines are available at the health department and at many healthcare providers, urgent care facilities and pharmacies.

For those at high risk of serious flu complications, getting vaccinated is especially important, according to the CDPH.

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