Flu virus spreading in NY, prompting public-health alert

Flu virus spreading in NY, prompting public-health alert

Flu virus spreading in NY, prompting public-health alert

"These findings remind us of the seriousness of flu and that flu prevention should really be a global priority", Joe Bresee, associate director for global health in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Influenza Division and a study co-author, said in a statement.

Lori Metzgar, RN, prepares a flu shot at Capital Care Pediatrics in Clifton Park last January.

Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asian countries had slightly lower but still high rates of flu-associated respiratory deaths.

He predicts the peak of flu season will hit sometime between late December and early March 2018.

In flu research news, a new paper from researchers in Singapore suggests that flu vaccine effectiveness for some influenza A and influenza B viruses drops within 6 months of vaccination.

"Right now we still need to encourage everyone who has not received a flu vaccine to get it, and to get it as soon as possible because we are seeing high activity levels of flu like illnesses in Louisiana", Lopez urged.

Authorities said there are concerns with how severe this year's flu season might be in the United States based off of projections following Australia's flu season, which is typically a good litmus test for how America will fare, officials said. There have been 612 influenza-related hospitalizations reported.

Yet an expert from the state DPH said it's a bit early to push the panic button and declare this season's vaccine ineffective.

William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said these revised estimates could prompt greater adoption of better methods of diagnosing and tracking flu strains around the world.

"We're only two months into the season so we don't know what's ahead of us", Yu said.

Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or death. The study, published Wednesday in the Lancet, says between 291,000 and 646,000 people likely succumb to these respiratory diseases each year-potentially far more than prior estimates hovering between 250,000 and 500,000 casualties. Roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population opts for the vaccine every year, and the CDC estimates it prevents about 5 million flu cases annually across the country.

Flu symptoms include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and muscle aches as well as a cough or sore throat.

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