Flu shuts schools in Alabama, Kentucky, other states

Alex Hogan  STAT

Alex Hogan STAT

The US flu season gained more steam last week, with most states reporting widespread activity and three more pediatric flu deaths, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its weekly update today.

While flu season typically peaks in February, it is very important to understand that there are few things that are typical about the flu.

Infants, young children, pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and those with medical conditions including immunocompromised individuals are especially at risk for a severe case of influenza.

"It's hard to predict, but we had two back-to-back H3N2 epidemics from 2016 to 2018", she says.

The mid-season vaccine efficacy estimate was only 20 per cent a year ago during the H3N2-dominant flu epidemic, the study said.

Also, according to Richard K. Zimmerman, MD, MPH, professor of family medicine, and associate professor of behavioral and community health sciences, University of Pittsburgh, flu vaccine rates dropped 40 percent previous year, and 79,000 people in the United States died from the flu (the typical number is 23,000).

She said that across the four western Canadian provinces, about 30 to 40 per cent of the entire population opted to get the vaccine this year. "But even on the downslope of the epidemic curve, there will be activity for several more weeks". People tend to get vaccinated more when they develop a habit of doing so.

Venezuela's military backs President Maduro, accuses challenger of 'coup'
Many Venezuelans were looking for Guaido to re-emerge and provide guidance on the opposition's next steps. Defying Maduro , Guaido urged diplomats to stay put, in an open letter to embassies in the country.

The CDC recommends vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older.

But the experts say it's not too late to act on something that can go a long way when it comes to avoiding this contagious virus. "So we have a lot more middle-aged people and children who are ill and need to be hospitalized". There, they'll likely test you for the flu and, if the test results are positive, will give you an antiviral therapy like Tamiflu or Xofluza.

Influenza and flu shot data provided by Alberta Health Services show there were 1,966 cases of influenza A in Calgary, which is the flu strain that can spread from humans to animals.

This year's flu shot has been 72 per cent effective at preventing infections in Canada, according to a scientific study.

"So every year's flu vaccine is actually slightly different".

It's unusual to hear of healthy, young people dying from the flu but it happens.

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