US Flu Outbreak on Decline

US Flu Outbreak on Decline

The number of people going to the doctor with symptoms of the flu has continued to decline.

Over the past several weeks, deaths of Americans of all ages from the flu have made headlines.

For the third week in a row, there was a decrease in the number of doctor visits for flu-like illness, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. CDC officials continue to recommend influenza vaccination for all individuals aged 6 months and older.

In Western New York, that rate continued to decline from 92 cases per 100,000 in the week ending Feb. 10 to 89.9 in the week ending Feb. 17 and to 73.8 as of Feb. 24 based on the latest data from the state Health Department.

Other countries also have or are experiencing a bad flu season because of the vaccine's ineffectiveness against the H3N2 virus.

Flu season began in October; the average duration is 16 weeks, but it can last up to 20 weeks.

This flu season started early and the intensity level was among the highest seen in a decade.

Even if you've already had the flu this year, you're still not completely in the clear.

Additional information gathered on some of these hospitalized patients showed that more than half of the adults - about 67% - had at least one existing medical condition, such as heart disease, metabolic disorder, obesity and chronic lung disease, the CDC reported.

Also contributing to the difficulties this year was the fact that the vaccine did not work very well and health officials say they are trying to figure out why it did so poorly.

Among counties in Central New York, the state health department reported 2,553 cases of the flu in Onondaga County this season, 2,678 in Oneida County, 1,790 in Broome County, 1,019 in Oswego County, and 883 in Jefferson County.

Although the flu vaccine doesn't guarantee that you won't get sick, doctors say it does reduce the chances, and if you do get sick it may be less severe. "What we're seeing here is a little bit more of an up and staying up".

While it is possible for the flu itself to cause death due to serious breathing problems and severe dehydration, according to Dr. Claire Bocchini, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Children's Hospital, it is more likely that a complication from the infection will be the cause of a flu-related fatality.

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