MN Department of Health asking for your help to track the flu

Here's How Many People Have Caught the Flu So Far This Season (Hint: It's a Lot)

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that almost every county in the state is experiencing significant flu activity.

Like the three previous deaths, the department said the latest victim was over the age of 50.

In most parts of the country, most illnesses right now are being caused by a flu strain that leads to fewer hospitalizations and deaths as the kind of flu that dominated a year ago, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"According to the CDC, we now have a high moderate regional outbreak", said James Frame, an emergency room physician at Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center in Sherman. Among the active flu strains circulating this season are influenza A H1N1 and H3N2.

Although health care officials can't be certain until after the flu season, it appears that this year's vaccine was fairly effective.

Flu season is in full swing in the Hudson Valley, with dozens of reported cases now being treated by doctors in the area.

The number of pediatric deaths related to the flu is rising.

As of December 29, the most recent data available from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there were 13,796 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases across the country, with the provinces and territories reporting 1,046 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

H1N1 viruses have been the most commonly identified flu viruses nationally.

Women with the flu who weren't hospitalized or were hospitalized but not admitted to the intensive care unit didn't have significantly higher risks for any of the complications studied, the researchers said.

"It is important to remember that, even if a patient gets the flu after receiving the vaccine, it is not usually as severe as if the patient had not received the vaccine at all", Durham wrote.

The flu is expected to affect more people, so the CDC is still recommending that people get a flu shot.

"Here's another proactive step you can take to protect your baby", Gupta said of a flu shot.

But getting sick with flu early in pregnancy makes it twice as likely to have a baby with birth defects of the brain, spine or heart, Gupta said.