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State health officials issue warning; latest flu trends "alarming"
14 January 2018, 12:39 | Rodolfo Wallace
Health Minister John Haggie.- Clarence Ngoh
The state may be four to six weeks away from seeing a peak.
The CDC expects the 2017-2018 flu epidemic is shaping up to be the most deadly since 2009-2010 swine flu epidemic that killed 284,000 people worldwide and 657 Californians.
"This season is nasty and really picked up at the end of December", Dave Osthus, lead investigator on the flu project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, told Business Insider in an email.
"We're only midway through the flu season this year, we will probably see a change in those numbers", said Hokanson.
Their biggest concern is the high rate of people hospitalized for the flu in recent weeks.
As the number of flu-related hospitalizations continues to increase, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has sent out a reminder to Oklahomans saying there is still time to get a flu shot.
He warned the province could see still see an increase in the number of people coming down with the flu. Antiviral medications can be prescribed to all hospitalized, severely ill and high-risk patients with confirmed or suspected flu, but the drugs work best when treatment is started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. In 2016, the total was 20,101, and in 2015 there were 54,316 total flu cases reported.
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With a couple of months left in flu season, more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been vaccinated than past year, says the province's health minister.
According to Teacutter, the trend in the number of flu cases this year mirrors that of 2014.
The department notes there were no influenza outbreaks reported in Newfoundland and Labrador so far during this flu season. That's well above the 106,000 shots given out in the 2016/2017 season. Even if the vaccine doesn't match the strain going around, it can still help.
This year's flu shot isn't as effective against a strain of the illness known as H3N2, but there is still good reason to get it.
And though the amount of flu cases far outpaces last year, the CDC is predicting the effectiveness of the vaccine this year to be similar to that of last year.
"We get a second one, usually, late February or March, so we're still very keen to build on the vaccination program". Although someone may have already been diagnosed with the flu, it's still worth getting the vaccination, Teacutter explained. Health officials, nevertheless, are urging people to take advantage of the vaccine not only because of its prevention capacity, but because the flu is milder when people catch it despite being vaccinated.
The number of cases is now at the highest in three years, but still nearly 50% lower than the swine flu outbreak of 2010. But local health departments that do count them are reporting that more people have died.
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