Flu cases widespread and high in number in Louisiana: CDC

Kenny Tucker
January 13, 2018

Three new flu deaths, including the death of a child, have been reported in North Carolina, raising the state's death toll so far this season to 12.

The Terre Haute area is not immune, with both Union and Terre Haute Regional hospitals announcing temporary visiting restrictions because of the spread of influenza A. Also affected is Union Hospital Clinton.

Tennessee is one of 17 states reporting very high levels of flu-like illness, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control & Prevention. "Even if the vaccine isn't as effective this year as we might hope it to be, it still is the best insurance of not getting seriously ill from the flu".

Flu season often begins in October, peaks between December and February, and can last as late as May, said the agency.

"Of reported tests results for influenza in the 2015 - 2016 periods, 8.7% were positive for flu".

The subfreezing temperatures have coincided with the height of flu season - leaving many Long Islanders feeling under the weather. This spike could correlate to the close proximity people have with others during the holidays when they gather with family and friends.

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"Typically in years when the predominant strain is H3N2, there are more hospitalizations, more severe disease and people tend to get sicker", Dr. Michael Ison, a professor of infectious disease and organ transplantation at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, told NBC News.

The Department of Health is urging Arkansans to stay home if they have a fever or other symptoms that could be flu-related. "If you're getting ready to see grandmother, call before you go - and make sure you've gotten your flu vaccine", Jernigan said.

People who are immunochallenged will suffer the worst, Killingsworth said. Symptoms may also include vomiting and diarrhea in children. Since it takes up to two weeks after vaccination for full immunity to take effect, anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now.

Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes, the CDC says.

Experts have warned the deadly "Aussie flu" has hit the United Kingdom as figures reveal 1,111 people have been infected by the virus.

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