Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Health officials: 15 deaths, 'high level' of hospitalizations reported from flu

Health officials: 15 deaths, 'high level' of hospitalizations reported from flu

Haggie says there are suggestions that one of the four strains of the virus contained in this year's influenza vaccine is less than ideal.

Dr. Byers said the flu shot is still the best protection against flu-related complications, and while it may not prevent infection, it can drastically reduce the severity and length of illness and prevent serious complications such as hospitalizations and even death.

Aussie flu symptoms are similar to normal flu, but they tend to last much longer, and are more severe, according to Now Healthcare Group's Medical Director, Dr Ben Coyle.

Public Health Department Director Virginia Caine says the number of patients seeking treatment in hospital emergency departments is a growing concern.

This year's flu season has been dominated by a particularly nasty bug, and health officials say it has now reached nearly every corner of the country.

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The effects of the season are already being seen across the country, with 19 confirmed flu deaths in Alberta and four deaths in London, Ontario.

The most common flu strain identified in Kentucky is Influenza A, said Dr. Jonathan Ballard, the state epidemiologist. H3N2-dominant flu seasons are associated with more severe illness, especially among children and older adults.

To monitor circulating flu viruses through the year, the DPH uses multiple surveillance systems to gain preliminary insight into the spread of influenza across the state.

"Once you start knowing that you're having the high fevers, and fatigue, and body aches along with the sore throat and cough, it's always a good idea to contact your doctor sooner because there are some medications that can be given", he said. While reports earlier this season cautioned that the vaccine may only be 10 percent effective - as happened in Australia - Jernigan said the estimates for this year are likely in the 30 percent range. In each of the past several flu seasons, at least 100 children have died, according to CDC data. In San Diego county, 46 people have died from the flu. Get an annual flu shot, cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of the arm, wash hands with warm soap and water, and stay home if sick. An alcohol-based hand rub will do if you don't have access to a sink.

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