Flu is widespread in NY state, health department says
- Author: Sylvester Abbott Dec 17, 2017,
Dec 17, 2017, 1:08
That is good news, because H3N2 is included in this year's flu vaccine.
The latest data is from the week ending in December 2nd, though new data is expected out soon. Earlier the experts said that the flu-related diseases claim around 250 to 500 thousand lives each year, but now the same experts state that the number of deaths caused by respiratory ailments is actually around 650,000.
Across the Commonwealth, the highest number of flu-related hospital visits reported are in very young children - from newborn to four-years-old.
"These findings remind us of the seriousness of flu and that flu prevention should really be a global priority", said Dr Joe Bresee, associate director for global health at the CDC's Influenza Division and a co-author of the study.
According to World Health Organization, previous global estimates of death resulting from such respiratory diseases from the flu sat between 250,000 and 500,000, but now new figures show that has jumped to 290,000 to 650,000.
Last week, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases made an urgent plea for better vaccines in the New England Journal of Medicine, saying "longer-term, transformative vaccine approaches are needed to minimise influenza-related morbidity and mortality". "For those who haven't yet received a flu shot, now is the best time because we have not yet hit peak activity and it takes two weeks for it to take effect".
Symptoms of flu can include headache, chills and cough, followed rapidly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation.
But the reason the 2017 shot isn't preventing as many cases of the H3N2 strain is that while scientists were growing the virus in chicken eggs, that strain mutated.
"It makes me a little sad that people across the country - especially pregnant women - may not be getting the recommended and appropriate health care", Altmann said. So mention this to your doctor when you go for your vaccine! There have so far been no reports of pediatric deaths from influenza.