18-month-old in Lucas County dies from flu

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Up until December 30, 2017, there were 11,275 laboratory-confirmed cases across the country, 74 per cent of which are attributed to influenza A. There have been a total of 1,050 influenza-related hospitalizations and 34 deaths across the country. However, the medical community has seen an uptick in positive flu cases in Hays County since a year ago.

Each year is different, but reported cases of the influenza virus usually peak in February.

The 2017-18 flu season in OH and nationally is looking similar to what was seen during the 2014-15 flu season which at the time was the most severe flu season in recent years, according to the (CDC).

"All this getting together closely over the holidays and now locked in because of the cold and the snow, that will enhance the transmission of flu", said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University.

He said while some media outlets reported that this year's flu vaccination is not a good match for the prevalent strain and may only be 10 percent effective, which was the case in Australia, he said he has read research indicating that the effectiveness rate in the USA may be near 32 percent, similar to last year.

He said the H3N2 influenza strain is showing up, which can mean more severe illness in children and people who are older or with compromised immune systems.

Flu symptoms can come on suddenly with a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache and fatigue, though not everyone with the flu runs a fever, Rohler noted.

National media outlets are reporting that the flu virus is less effective than usual this year, which could be a cause of the severe season.

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Each year the formula for the vaccine is developed based on last year's flu virus.

Vaccination is recommended for everyone over the age of six months, and the vaccination is available at physicians' offices and local clinics, at many local pharmacies, and through the Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) immunization program.

"No vaccine is 100 percent effective", said Carolyn Kaltenberg, a nurse and immunization program manager with Grand Forks Public Health.

Tulare County's public health report noted ways people can help prevent the spread of the flu.

It's not too late to get your flu shot.

Rodriguez said H3N2 influenza disproportionately affects the elderly, and encouraged older residents to be careful. "Compared to the last three seasons, it looks a lot worse but it goes up and down".

It can take up to two weeks to build full immunity to influenza following a vaccination, so people should get shots immediately, the department said.

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