CT health officials: Deadly flu season is intensifying

Flu hits York County. Vaccine is less effective this year

The El Paso Health Department reports there are 1,163 confirmed cases reported so far this flu season, as compared to 252 cases this time past year.

Across the state, the Texas Department of State Health Services has reported 1,155 deaths from the flu since October 2017.

Seven children died from the flu last week, bringing the total paediatric flu deaths reported to the CDC this season up to 20.

Officials said that this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years. The state may be four to six weeks away from seeing a peak.

Experts, including Canada's chief public health officer, have said that, although it's too early to tell for sure, the H3N2 component of this year's vaccine may have mutated during the manufacturing process, making it less effective. "It's across the board in New Mexico".

But in an update on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said patient traffic for flu at USA hospitals was no longer skyrocketing the way it was in December.

Officials at Bryan West Hospital reported that the lab there confirmed 91 flu cases last week. The CDC is calling it an epidemic. "We are seeing very large numbers, and that's particularly been true for the last two to three weeks".

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H3N2 is, historically, a vicious strain of flu.

Most hospitalizations were due to influenza A infections (90%), with 6% caused by influenza B. the rest were unsubtyped or due to a mix of strains.

"This year's flu virus appears to be affecting older persons especially hard", said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino.

While the flu vaccine is the recommended precautionary measure, Echols said county residents should wash their hands often, refrain from touching your eyes, mouth or nose and stay at home if they experience flu-like symptoms. From Dec. 31 to January 6, ARC tested more than 500 patients with flu-like symptoms.

"Students all being in classrooms together, between A&M and Blinn, we are anxious about it", said Kristen Christian, the Director of Emergency services for CHI St. Joseph. People recovering from the flu should not go outside until their fever has subsided for 24 hours without medications.

NPR reports the main strain of flu this season is H3N2, which tends to affect more people and make them sicker once they have the virus. "No matter what, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu is to get vaccinated". Usually with the flu you'll see a high fever, chills, muscle aches, a cough and nasal congestion. Antivirals can shorten the duration and severity of the flu.

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