83% Of Influenza-Like Illness In Younger Hoosiers; Deaths Reach 167 Statewide

Teacher on Life Support as Worst Flu Outbreak in Years Engulfs US

Teacher on Life Support as Worst Flu Outbreak in Years Engulfs US

The prevalent flu strain is still the Influenza A or the H2N2 but the CDC also noted rising strains of Influenza B and H1NI virus.

That's higher than last week, when the rate was 51 per every 100,000, and higher than during the fifth week of the 2014-15 season, which recorded about 44 people hospitalized per 100,000. It's a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be, and why we can never let down our guard, ' Schuchat said. "There have been far too many heart-wrenching stories in recent weeks about families who have lost loved ones to influenza". In Oregon and Hawaii, flu is occurring at a more limited regional level, rather than statewide.

Levels of illness, based on outpatient visits and visits to emergency rooms, are "now as high as we observed at the peak of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic season", Schuchat said.

US health officials will know this week the effectiveness of the season's flu shot.

The supply of the antiviral drugs used to treat patients with the flu exceeds the demand, although prescriptions are higher than in previous years, Schuchat said.

In the, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 10 new child deaths and the highest flu hospitalization rate since the agency started keeping comparable records in 2010.

The number was even higher in Texas, with 14 percent of the deaths during that period being flu-related.

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Thus far, 68 children have reportedly been felled by the flu. "I asked them yesterday, and I said, 'I know you don't know for sure, but what are we looking at?' They said, 'It's probably going to be months'".

The season has been dominated by the H3N2 flu strain, which usually is more virulent, but the virus itself doesn't seem to be much different from previous H3N2 strains. "This years' virus isn't new in terms of antigenic risk".

Preventing flu with vaccination is the best way to avoid trouble, of course, but statistics released last week out of Canada suggest this season's vaccine is just 17 percent effective against the H3N2 strain.

In the most recent week data were available, 10% of deaths in the nation were from influenza and pneumonia. Schuchat said they are also seeing an increasing proportion of B viruses circulating as well as a smaller rise in the proportion of H1N1 viruses. Norman Edelman, senior scientific advisor for the American Lung Association, told HealthDay.

In addition, Rite Aid pharmacists are available to counsel customers on over-the-counter medicines, like pain relievers, cough and cold medicines and hydration products that can be used to help manage symptoms associated with the flu. "With kids, its about 50% have some other condition, usually asthma, neurological disease, or obesity".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's still not too late to get a flu shot.

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