State Health Officials Urge Public Action to Prevent Spread of Flu

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"A lot of these people get very complacent, and they're not aware of how serious the flu can be", said Dr. Ricardo Barzaga, infectious disease consultant at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford Township.

The province has seen 590 lab-confirmed influenza cases between September and January 7. This week's report shows every county is experiencing high levels, and there are nine times as many flu-positive laboratory cases.

An increase in the number of flu cases and deaths in Kentucky is cause for concern, health care officials said on Thursday. This season, that number more than tripled.

But it's still too early to judge what kind of flu season this will turn out to be, Lund said. Hemal Kotalawala said that the deaths caused due to Influenza AH1N1 viral infection in Kandy General Hospital is not because of "Bird Flu".

The vaccination rate varies from year to year.

Health care workers, including physicians, nurses, and other workers in inpatient and outpatient-care settings, medical emergency-response workers (e.g., paramedics and emergency medical technicians), employees of nursing home and long-term care facilities who have contact with patients or residents, and students in these professions who will have contact with patients.

Symptoms of the flu include fever and chills, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, headaches and fatigue.

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The national report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also for the week ending December 31, shows high flu levels only in New York City, New Jersey, Georgia, Oklahoma and Oregon.

On the plus side, Butler said, this season's flu vaccine appears particularly well-suited to the prevalent strains of the virus, which means it's more likely to be effective against them. Also at this time previous year, there were only 16 lab-confirmed cases.

Some patients with a severe bout of influenza, which often include the elderly and those with underlying chronic health conditions that put them at risk for complications, are admitted to hospital and may receive an antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu), he said. It takes a week or two to be fully protected after getting immunized.

"We won't know [this flu season's] actual vaccine effectiveness until probably another month away", Lynette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the CDC's Influenza Division told us Friday.

Hoosiers who do not have health care coverage or access to a doctor are encouraged to check availability for the new Healthy Indiana Plan-HIP 2.0-by visiting www.HIP.IN.gov or calling 1-877-GET-HIP-9.

"This season's vaccine is a good match for circulating strains, including H3N2". That's why it is important to get a flu vaccine each year.

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