National

Flu activity on the rise in MA

Five children in New York have died as a result of the flu this season as the influenza activity level across the state remains geographically widespread for children for the seventh week in a row, the New York State Department of Health reports. It's continued to remain high for the last couple weeks nationwide and here in SC, and so we're really just emphasizing prevention. "A lot of this is timing". 19 people aged 5 to 24 have been hospitalized for the flu this season, while at this point previous year only one person in that age range had needed hospitalization.

Health officials tell local media that the 74-year-old woman was a resident of a long-term care facility and had multiple underlying conditions.

Infectious disease physician at Bristol Regional Medical Center Dr. Gail Stanley said frequent hand washing can help in stopping the spread of the flu.

Georgia is having some of the highest flu activity in the country right now.

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In the 2015-2016 flu season, there were a total of seven weeks in January and February that were deemed above the epidemic threshold. "You always have the potential for another pandemic", he said, adding, "It's just a matter of when". "You won't know you've seen a peak until a couple of weeks after it happened", she explained.

According to the release, this season's flu has been hitting children, teenagers and young adults particularly hard. Since humans are natural hosts of influenza B and the virus mutates much slower than influenza A, pandemics rarely occur with this type.

This year's vaccine contains all the circulating viruses, she said.

After influenza was declared prevalent in NY in late December, health care workers who were not vaccinated against influenza had to wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are typically present.

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For people aged 65 and older, the extra-strength vaccine is a good idea, Brammer said.

Most years, the vaccine is between 40 percent and 60 percent effective, according to the CDC.

If you've been sick this season, you're not the only one.

If the influx of influenza continues at this rate, Pueblo could potentially meet or surpass a 12-year high for hospitalized cases for the flu.

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News stories are written and provided by HealthDay and do not reflect federal policy, the views of MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



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