Flu widespread in 46 states; 9 more kids' deaths reported

18 February, 2017, 00:52 | Author: Joy Garcia

Overall deaths from pneumonia and flu were at 7.8%, keeping the level above the epidemic threshold of 7.5% for this point in the flu season. A shift toward more influenza B viruses is common for the latter part of the flu season.

The current flu season is the worst in almost two decades in Idaho, with 47 flu deaths reported statewide.

"This is one of the most severe flu seasons in the state since 2000", said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state influenza surveillance coordinator. Samples from the CDC evaluated across the US matched the strain in this year's vaccine about 97 percent of the time, the release said.

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The flu vaccine is changed each year based on the best guess at which strains will be the biggest problem. The vaccine takes up to two weeks to begin working fully, so getting the vaccine sooner rather than later is recommended. First, avoid close contact with sick people and stay at home if you are sick.

Most people who get influenza recover after a few days, but some people may develop serious complications.

The deaths correspond to a spike in total number of flu cases reported this year. Those at high risk include children under the age of 5, adults 65 years or older, pregnant women, and those with medical conditions such as asthma, heart or lung diseases, or a weakened immune system.

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