Unprecedented steps taken by local hospitals because of escalating flu

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

The flu season is intensifying in CT and the state Department of Public Health said hundreds of hospitalizations and 15 deaths of residents who are 65 years old and older are alarming.

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.

The most common strain circulating this year is the H3N2 influenza A, which tends to hit the youngest and oldest people the hardest.

Virginia Health officials are warning Williamsburg residents to get their flu shots before it's too late.

Even though the vaccine may not be well matched, it doesn't mean you shouldn't get a flu shot, CDC officials say.

Up to half of the children who die from flu have no known medical condition that would have put them at higher risk. We have seen a jump; so we think it's an opportunity to alert our population about how severe this season seems to be; but there is still time to get vaccinated. The FluMist nasal vaccine offered in the past has not been very effective against H1N1 strains in recent years, so the CDC says it "should not be used".

Dr. Chang says people with flu symptoms shouldn't worry about lack of insurance or money, that it's much more important to be treated.

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"The levels of illness we are seeing are still well within the normal range for what we see in a typical flu season", said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia.

According to CDC director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, "While our flu vaccines are far from ideal, they are the best way to prevent getting sick from the flu, and it is not too late to get one".

So far 43 schools and 55 long-term care facilities in the state have reported outbreaks, though epidemiologists note those numbers only reflect the cases that were bad enough to force a clinic or hospital visit-meaning thousands more cases are likely going uncounted.

When it comes to how the developers missed the mark with the vaccine, it's largely due to doctors at the World Health Organization having to try to predict what strains of the flu will be prominent in an upcoming flu season. People with mild symptoms or at lower risk from complications from influenza should stay home and rest or call their healthcare provider.

For the first time this season, flu is widespread in every state in the continental United States, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention media briefing on Friday.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

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