The report out Friday shows flu and pneumonia deaths crept up last week to push flu to an epidemic level.
“We’re into our [peak] season, so we’re going to see a lot more flu activity coming up”, said Anderson.
One person has died and there has already been more than 176 confirmed cases of influenza in Marin County during the current outbreak of the disease, according to the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services. As of January 6, 11,280 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza have been reported and 3,606 people have been hospitalized with influenza in the state this season – again, with Central New York among the leaders during the period for active flu cases.
So far this winter, there have been 93 flu-related deaths in England, according to Public Health England.
Officials say this flu season, which is dominated by the H3N2 virus, is similar in severity to 2014-15. Some hospitals in California have been so overwhelmed that they had to send patients to other ERs. Across the country, more than 80 percent of cases this season involve a different, nastier strain, H3N2 – the same strain that plagued Australian during its flu season.
The H3N2 strain, known as “Australian flu” or “Aussie flu”, has been linked to a number of deaths in Ireland.
Their experts called the latest flu trends in the state “alarming”. So even though it takes two weeks for the vaccine to start protecting people after they get vaccinated, it’s still worthwhile to get vaccinated, they say.
Free flu jabs are available for children under nine, pensioners, pregnant women and people with certain long-term health conditions.
The strain is taking its worst toll on the elderly, but is also causing complications for Baby Boomers and young children. Flu season typically runs from October to March in North America, and peaks between December and February.
That virus caused one of the worst USA flu seasons in recent years, 2014-15, when the vaccine was a poor match.
“Our best immune response will be to those viral infections we acquired first”, said Dr Cillian de Gascun, head of the National Virus Reference Laboratory in UCD.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has declared a State Public Health Emergency as flu cases continue to spread, causing school closings and filling some hospitals beyond capacity.
· If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. “Be sure to wash your hands, particularly if you are sick yourself”, Harris said.