State flu deaths climb but season may have peaked

Credit Oklahoma State Department of Health

A 70-year-old Cleveland man died from the flu this week which brings the total of reported deaths to 31.

CT health officials say 20 more people including a second child have died from the flu in the state, bringing the total to 97 for the season.

That's up from 195 from the previous week. The type of flu virus that is primarily causing illness in MS and nationwide is the H3N2 flu strain, which especially affects individuals over 65 years of age and young children, increasing their risk of complications and hospitalization. The virus poses the greatest threat to young children and those 65 and older, but as Tan said, it sends persons of all ages to the ER.

Almost 100 children have died from flu this season, and that is likely to climb before it ends.

DHEC said more than 17,000 people were hospitalized with flu last week.

Hospitalizations were still greatly associated with influenza A infection; 83.4% of all hospitalized flu cases were caused by influenza A.

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Richmond County Health Director Tommy Jarrell said Friday that he has heard that some of those deaths have been in Richmond County but he did not have a specific number, adding that there was nothing from the state indicating the death of a child from the flu. Last season, there were no reported pediatric flu deaths. It is 25 percent effective against the dominant strain this season, influenza A H3N2, but 67 percent effective against H1N1 and 42 percent effective against influenza B strains.

For those that haven't been vaccinated this year, Werker said there's not much point in bothering now.

This is the usual time of year for influenza to take its grip on everyone, from those with robust health to those with weakened immune systems.

The official recommendations are that for children 6 months to 8 years of age, the very first time they get a flu shot, must be followed by a second booster shot at least 4 weeks later. "They look at the news and see more people getting sick so they say let me get it".

"All we can do is monitor what is going on and reinforce the messages of prevention", she said, noting people should wash their hands frequently, watch where they're sneezing and stay home if they're sick. "We also recommend using face masks if needed". "It's never too late for vaccination".

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