CDC: Flu Season Getting Even Worse, Especially For Children

Flu Deaths Rise in MO and AR

The Influenza A (H3N2) strain tends to cause larger outbreaks compared to other strains of the flu, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

In Georgia, there have been 51 confirmed flu-related deaths as of February 2, according to the Georgia Department of Health.

Brenda Fitzgerald resigned as head of the CDC Wednesday, a day after Politico reported Fitzgerald's purchase of tobacco stock after she took the position at the nation's top public health agency. Seventeen patients now remain hospitalized.

The government's report out Friday showed the flu season continued to intensify last week. But the epidemic is accelerating.

"In the past week, we have seen increased influenza-like illness activity, more hospitalizations, and tragically, more flu-associated deaths in children and adults", said Anne Schuchat, MD, acting CDC director.

The Ontario government opened surge beds in hospitals ahead of the flu season to help already crowded hospitals cope with an anticipated influx of patients during flu and viral season. If you are sick, seek care from your healthcare provider early.

The Ministry of Health has issued an urgent notice asking health departments to strengthen their measures against flu, with the number of flu patients rising.

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Across Wisconsin more than 600 people have been hospitalized and in Eau Claire that number has surpassed sixty.

The majority of cases have involved the H3N2 strain, which is more resistant to the flu vaccine and tends to lead to more hospitalizations and deaths. Even though this year's vaccination is not very effective, health officials say it still offers some protection. Strain B is also much harder to vaccinate as it mutates about two to three times more slowly than strain A. The flu is one of the most contagious infectious diseases, reports the CDC. "We actually still have a little bit but places where people normally get their flu shots are out at this point".

The effort is sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Health which is offering free flu shots at 55 parish health units across the state Wednesday.

Viruses like the flu can weaken the immune system, which then makes it easier for those people to catch an infection like pneumonia.

If you appear to have flu symptoms, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, except to get medical attention.

Federal officials don't think the flu has peaked yet, and there may be several more weeks before the risk of flu or serious illness subsides.

Health professionals actually encourage that you do get a flu shot, especially as different strands of the flu swirl around.

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