Health department sees increase in seasonal flu activity

As flu outbreak numbers rise, the HSE says it's not too late to get your vaccine

As of December 29, the most recent data available from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows there were 13,796 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases across the country, with the provinces and territories reporting 1,046 hospitalizations and 24 deaths. According to national figures, almost half of all flu-related hospitalizations across Canada early in the season were among children and youth.

The department did not release additional information about the child, citing privacy concerns.

"There is high flu activity throughout the state so it's important for those who have not yet gotten a flu shot - especially health care workers - to get one", the state department of health reminded residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80,000 people of all ages in the United States died of the flu and its complications during last year's season. So even if the vaccine is only 50 percent effective, it could essentially stop the epidemic in a community if everyone got a flu shot, Morse said.

The CDC says flu activity in IN is now classified as widespread, but it's not too late in the season to protect yourself from the virus. "We are hoping for a milder season than we had a year ago, which was a doozy", Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, told Healthline. And a million people were hospitalized.

Although flu cases are climbing, the numbers are still well behind those reported at this time previous year, when the nation was in the midst of one of its most severe flu seasons on record. Every year, the USA spends lots of money on vaccines and prevention, so how come flu still affects so many of us?

Traditionally, the H1N1 component is better at halting the spread of that strain of the virus, compared to H3N2, which has a greater propensity to genetically mutate, often in the manufacturing process.

When possible, stay home if you get the flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to set in.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. Rates, however, were higher among young children and the elderly (14.5 and 11.9 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, respectively), as these populations are more susceptible to complications of the flu.

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