Medicine

Doctor: Flu virus spreading at high rate in Monroe County

Doctor: Flu virus spreading at high rate in Monroe County

This season's flu vaccine includes the same H3N2 vaccine component as last season, and most circulating H3N2 viruses that have been tested in the USA this season are still similar to the H3N2 vaccine virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Many factors could be fueling the surge in illness, but one possibility is that the predominant strain of the virus this year, influenza A (H3N2), is typically less controlled by vaccination and has been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in older adults and young children - who are at at higher risk of developing complications from flu - according to a recent health advisory from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That places Berks just behind Allegheny County for the most reported positive flu tests so far.But it's still too early to say how many patients will come when the season hits its peak, Keim and Driscoll said."We're continuing to see some influenza A, maybe four to six cases a day", Keim said.At Penn State Health St. Joseph, the flu numbers are similarly small, Driscoll said."We've seen a couple every day", Driscoll said.

The annual flu vaccination program began on October 1 a year ago, offering free flu shots to high-risk groups, including toddlers, students under the age of 18 and patients suffering from chronic diseases.

However, such prediction can be wrong, leading to vaccines containing different viruses from those making people sick during flu season, the CDC said. "We see it three months before and three months after, and this is the time of the season where we start to see an up-tick, but we have seen quite a bit the last three weeks of the Influenza virus", she said.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, body ache, cough and fatigue.

"Every year, area health experts provide the same tips to help avoid the flu". Moreover, most viruses separated from patient tissue samples have been related to the Yamagata lineage, not the Victoria lineage in vaccines being used this season.

The department said 72 people in Idaho died past year from flu-related illnesses.

The flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more common and intense.

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Who should get the vaccine?

The DHW recommends everyone older than 6 months receive a flu vaccine, barring medical reasons to avoid getting one.

Now Public Health England and the Irish HSE have now urged people at higher risk of flu such as the elderly, pregnant women and children with chronic illness to get vaccinated, but should we all be panicking? "Sometimes the flu shot is not as protective as it is in other years, but it's still worth getting". This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.

For people at high risk of serious flu complications, treatment with antiviral drugs can mean the difference between milder or more serious illness possibly resulting in a hospital stay.

"Stay home if you're sick", Berger warned.

"We're certainly seeing an increase in Influenza A, seems to be more so than Influenza B", she said.

Between 600,000 and 2.4 million Pennsylvania residents will get the flu this year. He died of pneumonia after being infected with Type B flu virus.


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