Marion County hospitals to temporarily restrict visitors due to high flu activity

Maricruz Casares
Enero 9, 2019

A New Jersey child has died of the flu, marking the first pediatric flu death of the 2018-2019 season in the state.

"What I can tell you is that the people who have been hospitalized and the deaths that were associated with the flu this year are people who have not been immunized, a majority of them have not been immunized", said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health for New Brunswick.

As of the end of December, the rate of outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses (ILIs) had almost doubled from the national baseline, as the 2018-19 influenza (flu) season continues to see a variation of influenza A strains predominately affect the country.

No other details regarding the child's death have been released at this time.

A total of 13 children have died so far this flu season.

Dr. Walshak says he expects to see more flu cases around the country.

In Cole County, there have only been 47 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu so far this season, said Jaime Young, Cole County communicable disease and epidemiology director. Last year, we had a very high flu season compared to past years. Data suggests that more people got vaccinated earlier this year than they did last year, perhaps motivated by memories of the prior season.

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But after the Southern Hemisphere experienced a much milder flu season about six months ago, health experts are hopeful this year won't be as bad.

The majority of those are the H1N1 strain, according to the province.

The HSE has urged all people in at-risk groups for the flu to get vaccinated if they have not done so already.

A spokesperson for the HSE said that the best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine.

"So we would like everybody who's eligible to get the vaccine", said Russell, noting that it takes about two weeks for antibodies induced by the shot to come into full effect.

"Vaccination - although not ideal - still prevents many infections completely, and even if you get influenza having received the vaccine, your illness is much more likely to be milder, and you're less likely to get the complications of pneumonia and having to be hospitalized".

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

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