Minnesota's flu season is worse than expected, and it's not done yet

Marie Harrington
February 10, 2018

The nationwide flu outbreak could be the worst on record, federal health officials said Friday while releasing a grim report that at least 63 children have died from influenza.

"You never know until the end of the season how bad it is", Fauci told CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett on this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast.

One in 10 American deaths last week was from influenza or pneumonia, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This year's risky flu season shows no sign of waning, and "may be on track to break some recent records".

As the total number of flu cases in the state climbed to 52,567, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday directed state Department of Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to authorize additional funding to county health officials so that they can expand access to the flu shot.

And with so many people now hospitalized for severe cases of flu, "unfortunately, more deaths are likely to happen" over the next few weeks, she added.

Experts also reminded people that they can not get the flu from the flu shot.

"We wish there could have been better news this week", said Schuchat.

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The number of lab-confirmed influenza cases in the State of NY continued to climb sharply during the most recent surveillance period*, the state Department of Health reported Thursday.

The CDC confirmed the surge in flu cases at doctor's offices across the country match what was seen in 2009, when the panic-inducing swine flu pandemic swept the world.

Schuchat said that while this year's virus "isn't new in terms of antigenic drift", virologists are studying it to see if there are "other explanations for the more severe disease we're seeing".

This season's number of reported flu-related fatalities in Washington (151) is lower than the total at this time previous year (214), according the department's latest compilation of flu data. Will it even protect you during this particularly intense flu season?

"One man who we vaccinated came a week or so later and tested positive for influenza - a different strain", Onofre said.

The West Region of the state continues to have the largest number of total weekly laboratory-confirmed cases for Type A and B flu viruses - some 742 - as well as the total number of year-to-date confirmed cases - some 2,885. Some Local clinics are running short of flu vaccines, this means patients may have to call more than one outpatient clinic or pharmacy. Everyone 6 months or older should get flu shots. Flu infection can continue up to 24 hours after the fever breaks without the help of a fever-reducing medication.

Schuchat said West Coast states are seeing more influenza B. Researchers noted that it is not uncommon to see influenza B activity, and "we usually see better vaccine protection against B viruses".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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