Experts urge more vaccinations as flu becomes 'widespread' in Alabama

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

Northern Manitoba has been hit hard in the 2018-19 flu season, with 130 influenza cases from September 1 to December 29, second only to Winnipeg which had 210. As many as 83,500 people with the flu had been hospitalized by that date.

High levels of the flu were also reported in Mississippi, Georgia and SC, among other states. That's four fewer states than the previous week.

The burden of the flu is falling heavily on young children this year - an age group that traditionally shows low vaccination rates, Canadian doctors say.

The weekly flu report published Friday by the Public Health Agency of Canada shows that from Dec. 30 to January 5, lab-confirmed influenza cases are down from the week prior, suggesting the flu season may have reached its peak during the last week of December.

Influenza has sickened an estimated 6 million to 7 million Americans since October, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Public health experts say flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the flu.

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Meanwhile, four people have died of the flu so far this season in IN, according to the state's department of health. "Healthcare workers - you'll be surprised to know how hard it is to convince them, who are on the front line, to accept the vaccine".

Instead of relying on people to get vaccinated every year, scientists are getting closer to a flu vaccine that would last through multiple seasons, called a universal flu vaccine.

"We're seeing quite a number of upper respiratory infections which are also viral in nature", said Dr. Alex Roby, medical director at Red River ER in Sherman. People might also get flu by touching a contaminated surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

One candidate from the Israel-based biopharmaceutical company BiondVax is in large-scale trials in Europe and smaller trials in the United States.

The CDC usually doesn't make those estimates until a flu season is over, but researchers have been working on the model for almost a decade and believe it is sound enough to use while the season is still going on, officials said.

There's even a possibility it might not work.

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