Even though researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed this year’s flu season as average, health facilities are flooded each day with new patients while complications associated with the disease are claiming even more lives as the season approaches its peak. On Friday, January 27th, epidemiologist Lynette Brammer urged the population to get vaccinated as soon as possible in order to prevent further spreading of the virus and more flu-related deaths and hospitalizations.
Health Officials’ Statements
While the illness keeps spreading, Lynette Brammer describes this year’s flu season as far from severe when compared to previous years. Even so, health officials reported a surge in flu-related death and hospitalization rates.
With several weeks to go until the flu season reaches its peak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. Even though health officials do not keep tabs on the number of adults that succumb to complications of the disease, they closely monitor child deaths. Last week three children died because of health complication associated with the illness, bringing the grand total to eight victims since the season began. As elders, children, pregnant women, and chronically ill are most vulnerable to contracting the virus, health officials urge the population to improve their odds of survival by getting the flu shot.
According to the official CDC reports, there have been 128 infantile flu-related deaths recorded last year. Researchers say the dominant flu strain continues to be H3N2. However, as the flu season will draw to an end, health experts predict the H1N1 and B type strains will also make an appearance.
H3N2 is particularly known to come with severe health complications especially for young individuals and elderly people. However, health experts say this year’s strain has been, so far, milder than anticipated. Good news is that the flu shot matches strains associated with this year’s flu season. However, it is only 40 to 60 percent effective, so doctors recommend double doses especially for chronically ill, pregnant mothers whose children cannot receive the vaccine until they turn 6-months-old, and elderly individuals.
Health officials say approximately 200,000 individuals are hospitalized during a typical flu season because of health complications associated with the disease, including pneumonia. Also, death rates fluctuate annually. The record so far has been set at 49,000 flu-related deaths in a single year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Image Source: Wikipedia