Tags: h1n1 | flu

H1N1 Flu Striking Young Adults More Than Little Kids, Seniors

Friday, 17 Jan 2014 10:10 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The H1N1 flu strain, which caused the 2009 pandemic and afflicts otherwise healthy children and young adults, is said to be striking primarily young adults this year as opposed to the very old and very young as is the typical scenario.

"Typically, you think it will be the really old or the really young," Marc Itskowitz, an associate professor of medicine and internal medicine physician at Allegheny General Hospital told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "This year, the cluster is really in young adults."

Whereas just over a third of U.S. adults ages 18 to 65 got the flu shot during the 2012-2013 flu season, a lower vaccination trend is emerging among young adults across the nation this year, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis released Tuesday.

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"The trend of low vaccination rates among younger adults is particularly troubling this year, when they are more at risk than usual for the effects of the H1N1 strain of flu that's circulating," Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, told Reuters.

For some the flu has proved fatal, such as 32-year-old Kendra Fendt of Pace, Fla., who died last Thursday after apparently contracting the virus during a hospital visit in November where she birth to a baby girl, Florida's Fox10TV.com reported.

On the Sunday before last, a 47-year-old ambulance paramedic from Florida's Santa Rosa County died from complications from the H1N1 virus after he contracted the flu, leaving behind a young family, PNJ.com reported.

"The number of confirmed fatalities is rising rapidly and exceeds what is expected this time of year," Dr. Gil Chavez, a state epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento, told the Los Angeles Times.

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An estimated 6.9 percent of all deaths in the United States this season have been caused by flu or pneumonia, according to the CDC, which added that as of Tuesday 10 children have died from the flu this season.

Currently there are widespread flu cases being reported in 35 states, with rates being particularly high in 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

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