NS sees spike in flu-related deaths in February

Saturday, 17 Feb, 2018

One of the influenza B strains in the flu shot lead to the deaths of the two children, Walters said. The vaccine provided 59 percent protection against H3N2 in children 8 and younger.

Thomas suggested in order to prevent contracting the flu individuals should wash their hands, cover their cough, and if they are ill, they should stay home. People's response to flu, he said, seems to be primed by the first type of flu we encounter as children. "We must enhance our ability to predict the right strain for the next season, produce a more optimal vaccine, and protect all Americans against all strains of this virus". The U.S. government, he said, should invest in research and large clinical trials that explore better ways to make flu vaccines.

Despite the poor match of the vaccine to the most common strain of flu, the CDC is still urging people who haven't gotten a flu shot to get one, because the vaccine is more effective against other types of flu.

But if by chance you do contract the flu or think you might have the flu, take some steps to prevent spreading the illness.

During the same period, public health laboratories tested 51,014 specimens for influenza virus, of which 84.1% (n=23,257) tested positive for influenza A and 15.9% (n=4,412) tested positive for influenza B viruses. Some years they are more successful than others. Even though the vaccine is not as powerful as officials hoped, it can lessen the illness's severity, keep people out of the hospital, and save lives.

"This year's strains of flu that are circulating, there is the H3N2 which is a little more novel, we don't have as much natural immunity against it". In particular, patients aged ≥6 months who have not been vaccinated this season should receive the vaccine. The flu is a virus, so antibiotics won't help, unless you develop a secondary infection, like bacterial pneumonia, which is possible on the heels of the flu.

But most of the children who have died this year have not been vaccinated, the report said. OSDH is offering flu vaccinations statewide at no cost to recipients at all county health department sites.

Public health officials explained the best defense against influenza is the flu shot.

In a press briefing yesterday afternoon, CDC acting director Anne Schuchat, MD, warned that "all indications are that flu activity remains high and is likely to remain high for several weeks", noting that the rates of influenza-like illness are around the level they were during the 2009 pandemic.