Vermont health officials say flu season could last several more months

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that influenza has caused 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths in the United States each year since 2010. Alabama is one of 26 states reporting high levels of influenza-like Illness. Health officials reported their findings in a Thursday morning phone conference.

The Department of Public Health said this flu season has been particularly severe among people aged 65 and older.

Williamson and Hays counties each have reported more than 700 flu cases but no flu deaths.

In its first report for 2018, the state said 1,765 people have been hospitalized for the flu this season, up from a total of 1,021 in its final report for 2017.

As parts of the country are starting to see relief, Levine said those in the Northeast shouldn't let their guard down, "We have every right to believe the flu will get worse in Vermont". "We are just a few weeks away from peak flu activity, so everyone - especially those aged 65 years or older - should take the necessary precautions". Bliss should contact their primary care provider. "We have a lot of flu season to get through still", he said.

The vaccine is available at the county's community health centers.

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That last point is what concerns public health officials most because its the strain that's challenging this year's vaccine, which doesn't fully protect against H3N2. Early predictions show the vaccine is about 32 percent effective, meaning that if 100 vaccinated people are exposed to the flu, 32 will be protected against it. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

So far, more than 151 million doses of vaccine have shipped, Fitzgerald said at the media briefing.

The data for this season, while incomplete, have not reached the heights of the 2014-15 season according to the CDC, which was severe.

Dr Jernigan said the issue largely boils down to pharmacies not being aware of all the manufacturers producing these medications, meaning their stock is more limited than necessary. Influenza activity has been on the rise since early November. The strain of influenza A responsible for most of the illness seen so far is called H3N2-which experts say is associated with higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths than other strains.

"We know now that among the eight public health districts in the state of Alabama, at least seven of those have hospital capacities that are ten percent or less".

Almost 22,000 patients went to see their GP with flu in the first week of 2018, the Royal College of GPs said, and there was also a rise in people seen with the common cold, acute bronchitis, respiratory system diseases and asthma.


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