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Flu Cases Four Times as Many as Last Year, CDC Says

Flu Cases Four Times as Many as Last Year, CDC Says

(Kyryl Gorlov/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 11 January 2018 12:48 PM

Flu cases are up four times from what were at this time in 2017, with young children being the most vulnerable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, adding that 45 states were reporting widespread illness.

CBS News reported that 13 children around the country have already died in connection with the flu this season, per the CDC, and that this particular strain of the flu, H3N2, makes children younger than five at higher risk of developing flu-like complications.

"We've seen 675 cases of the flu over the last two weeks," Dr. Stephen Epner of Physicians Immediate Care in the Chicago area told CBS News, adding that all of its 31 locations are seeing a 20 percent increase in patients.

"It seems like it's about 30 to 50 percent worse than the previous two to three years," Epner added.

California health officials said last week that that 27 people younger than 65 have died of the flu in the state since October, compared with three at the same time last year, KTLA-TV reported.

KTLA reported that the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica treated more than 200 patients on one day last week, up from its norm of 140, mostly because of the flu, according to emergency room medical director, Dr. Wally Ghurabi.

Dr. Claire Bocchini, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, told KHOU-TV this week that about a quarter of the children admitted there now is because of the flu.

"The flu is very dangerous," Bocchini told KHOU-TV. "It's not your regular virus that gives you a couple days of runny nose. … Their lungs, their immune systems are still developing, especially the younger ones, and so they have a lot more complications."

A CDC statement issued in late December said antiviral medications must be used with vaccinations to improve protection against the flu.

"Last season, the (vaccine effectiveness) against circulating influenza A(H3N2) viruses was estimated to be 32 percent in the U.S.," the CDC said. "CDC expects that (effectiveness) could be similar this season, should the same A(H3N2) viruses continue to predominate.”

"For this reason, in addition to influenza vaccination for prevention of influenza, the use of antiviral medications for treatment of influenza becomes even more important than usual. The neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications are most effective in treating influenza and reducing complications when treatment is started early."

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Flu cases are up four times from what were at this time in 2017, with young children being the most vulnerable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, adding that 45 states were reporting widespread illness.
flu cases, cdc
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2018-48-11
Thursday, 11 January 2018 12:48 PM
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