US flu season poised to be milder than last year's

Kenny Tucker
January 14, 2019

The department in its weekly influenza report Friday for the week ending January 5 says three of the people who died were over 65 and one was between ages 50 and 64.

The exception was an increase of flu cases reported in the Panhandle area and among seniors across the state.

Anderson says it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"Swine flu, also known as H1N1 virus is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract that spreads from person to person through the inhalation of respiratory droplets". Almost all of the pediatric illnesses are linked to H1N1. Sixteen children have died from influenza in the USA and we are halfway through the height of the flu season. It's unclear if the three deaths are included in the six pediatric deaths reported by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The latest report from the CDC finds widespread flu activity in 30 states. While the CDC continuously monitors patient visits for flu-like illness in the US, this information can lag up to two weeks behind real time. People might also get flu by touching a contaminated surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. None of those deaths have been children. Flu usually takes off after Christmas and peaks around February. "The rate of flu vaccination of women of childbearing age, and especially those in the first trimester [of pregnancy], is unacceptably low", he said.

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In Oklahoma, the CDC reports flu activity is high.

"We're seeing between 120 to 150 cases per week over the last few weeks", said medical health officer Dr. Karin Goodison. "The dominant strain this year is type A, H1N1".

In Illinois, reported influenza illnesses for this year are trending far below last year, when flulike illnesses peaked in mid- to late December with more than 6 percent of patients visiting physicians with those symptoms, Arnold said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the entire country is experiencing a much milder flu season this year so far. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

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