Flu cases on the rise in Southwest Florida

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said up to half of all children who die as a result of the flu have no known medical condition that put them at higher risk for complications of the illness.

A map showing flu hotspots, including the potentially Aussie flu strain which has arrived in the United Kingdom, has shown Sunderland and Durham are among the areas with the highest cases reported. "Flu vaccine is readily available for both children and adults throughout the state at health care providers, community pharmacies and parish health units in each region", said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer, Louisiana Department of Health. About 2,500 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported the week of Christmas, bringing the number by the end of 2017 to almost 8,000, according to an Arizona Department of Health Services report. The DPH website reported the less severe influenza B jumped 69 cases to 177 to date.

Decades after approval in various countries, the UK National Health Service (NHS) has approved the adjuvanted flu vaccine Fluad.

Around 46 Scots in every 100,000 suffered from the virus during the last week in December 2017, up from 22 in every 100,000 for the same week in 2016, according to latest Health Protection Scotland (HPS), reports Metro.

The flu bug surge coincided with the Arctic cold that has gripped the Northeast since Christmas day - but it's just that, a coincidence, said DPH epidemiologist, Dr. Alfred DeMaria Jr.

The last week in December saw 220 confirmed cases of influenza A across the commonwealth - a 44 percent increase - bringing the flu season total to 502, according to the state Department of Public Health.

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"It's a little too early to tell", what kind of flu season we're going to have, he said.

Health officials hope the vaccine is at least 30 percent effective as the flu season worsens in the Central Valley.

If you are sick, do not visit vulnerable loved ones who may be receiving care in a hospital, nursing home, cancer center or other setting.

"Other actions that can be taken to prevent getting and spreading the flu are frequent hand washing, keeping hands away from one's face and staying away from sick people".

People should not visit patients at any BHS facilities if they are under 18 years of age, ill or are experiencing flu or flu-like symptoms.

Contact Mikayla Mace at 573-4158 and Stephanie Innes at 573-4134.

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