Number of flu cases remains high in St. Louis County

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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.

Twenty children have died of the flu so far, the CDC said.

Williamson and Hays counties each have reported more than 700 flu cases but no flu deaths.

More than 300 people have been hospitalized and least four have died from influenza-related illnesses in Georgia this season.

"This is a bad flu season", Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a conference call Friday. "Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are at greater risk for complications from flu and those who live with or care for these individuals". That compares with 149 hospitalizations at this time previous year.

Compared to a year ago, ARC is reporting much higher rates of patients seeking flu tests and receiving positive results.

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"Type A, H3N2 seems to be the significant culprit", Honeycutt said.

From Nov. 19 to Nov. 25, 54 patients were tested for the flu.

As of January 6 there were 2,877 flu cases in Nebraska. The Bend Bulletin reported that hospitals in central OR have been pushed to capacity, filling all 349 hospital beds in Bend, Madras, Redmond and Prineville.

He said some emergency rooms in the state have more patients than beds.

The outbreak has occurred earlier than in previous years and spiked in recent weeks; almost 60 percent of hospitalizations across the state have occurred since December 16.

"This year is looking a lot like last year", she said.

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Marion County Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said the season is close to peaking in Marion County.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools have seen a sharp increase in absences recently.

The peak of flu season is typically in February.

Vaccines developed for this year's strain are only 10 percent effective against the H3N2 virus, also commonly known as the Australian flu. Staff have seen a 20 percent overall general increase in people who are using the ER and 16-percent increase in patients who have been admitted overnight.

Likewise, the New York Health Department reported a child death from the flu, but did not not disclose the child's age, identity or community to protect the family's privacy, except to say that the child lived "downstate". Get an annual flu shot, cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of the arm, wash hands with warm soap and water, and stay home if sick.

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