United States flu outbreak worsens; 20 reported fatalities in NH

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The dominant flu strain this season, influenza A (H3N2), is especially potent, linked with severe disease and death, particularly among children and the elderly.

'Neal said it was hard to predict how effective the flu shot is while the season is occurring but said even if it isn't flawless, it will still provide protection from other strains of the flu and could moderate some of the symptoms of a strain that isn't completely prevented. The flu started showing up locally in early in December, and seemed to peak by the last week in December with 101 cases reported that week.

Saturday, February 10, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. In 2016, 20 cases were seen, and in 2015, 89 cases were seen from January 1 through mid-February. "That was our most severe recent season, and we're quite a bit higher than that", Schuchat said.

"The match this year between what's in the vaccine and what's circulating is pretty good on paper, but sometimes in the manufacturing process, there's changes that occur even in to the strain that is made in the vaccine and that can cause a difference", he said. Everyday preventive actions - washing hands, covering when you sneeze or cough, and staying home when you feel sick - help prevent the spread of the virus.

The school offers the flu vaccine to faculty and staff during the health fair at the beginning of the year.

To find out where you can get a flu vaccine visit: Flu Vaccine Finder. "This season, we are on track to break some records". Less than one third of these babies that died had received a vaccination against the flu virus.

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Dr. Ranta added that it's still not too late to get a flu shot, and even though this year's vaccine has not been as effective as hoped, it still can help prevent serious disease and hospitalization. It's a step officials say they've only taken once before.

However, those who can find the vaccine elsewhere should seriously consider getting it, he urged. The infamous 1918 influenza pandemic infected approximately 500 million people worldwide and killed 50 to 100 million according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Increased use of masks by providers and staff as well.

Baystate Health announced this week it was tightening visitor access to prevent the spread of the flu.

Cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the office, including the waiting room. Malas is an advocate of the flu shot.

Targeted messages were sent to fraternities and sororities during rush week. Malas says an effective preventative measure to stop the flu is isolation.

Enhanced cleaning efforts are ongoing in high traffic and high-risk locations, such as dining facilities.