Sneezes and sniffles: Sask. flu season may have peaked

Maricruz Casares
Enero 13, 2018

There were 128 positive flu tests during the same period in 2016, health officials said. Grey said that around the state there have been 18 flu-associated deaths, 12 in the last week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends anyone over 6 months of age receive a flu vaccination. So far this season, there have been 1029 lab-confirmed cases.

"Flu is everywhere in the US right now", Jernigan said during a conference call with reporters.

"These deaths are a sad reminder that influenza hits the very young, very old and those with weakened immune systems especially hard", said State Epidemiologist and IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "When Influenza A H3N2 is the prominent strain, it tends to be more a little bit more genetically unstable". In each of the past several flu seasons, at least 100 children have died, according to CDC data.

Experts say this year's flu vaccine is only 30% effective, saying the H3N2 strain, is tough to fight.

The prominent strain this year is AH3N2, which IDPH Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said is known to cause serious illness, hospitalization and deaths.

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Dr. Spire said it's still important to get the flu shot. "Recently the CDC issued a health advisory advising clinicians that antiviral treatment that all hospitalized and high-risk persons with suspected influenza should be treated with antiviral medications, and that benefits are observed even when treatment is initiated beyond 2 days of illness onset".

They said the flu has particularly impacted the state's older residents and the state's hospitals. While it is possible that flu season peaked around the holidays and illnesses will gradually decline, it is also possible that the flu season could get even worse in 2018 before it gets better.

Health care professionals recommend that anyone who has not already received a flu vaccine do so immediately.

"An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick and spreading it to others", officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. This includes avoiding people who are sick, staying home when sick, cover your cough and frequently wash your hands.

According to the province, adults between the ages of 20 and 64 were the most affected this year, as there was about 600 cases in that age group alone.

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