Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Houston Health Department confirms 2 flu-related deaths

Houston Health Department confirms 2 flu-related deaths

Officials stress the best line of defense is a flu shot. The previous week there were seven reported deaths. The last time Arizona saw a surge in flu cases and deaths was in 2009, when the H1N1 strain broke out, which led to the deaths of over 900 Arizonans.

It's a practice Garcia says they do throughout the year, but are taking it even more serious as flu numbers across the state skyrocket. A recent study out of Australia, which recently wrapped up its flu season, showed that a similar vaccine wasn't all that useful there. "It is too early for us to know what the flu vaccine effectiveness is for the USA, and we can't make predictions based on what happened in other countries like Australia because it's not an equal comparison".

That's according to Dr. Denise Werker, the province's deputy chief medical health officer, who stood in for Dr. Saqib Shahab to provide reporters with an update Thursday. With the recent bout of cold weather and people traveling and socializing during the holidays, Austin area doctors aren't just seeing spikes in flu but also people with stomach bugs and respiratory viruses.

"It's already three to four times the normal flu season".

The Houston Independent School District said its nurses have reported 421 students with flu-like symptoms since the beginning of the school year, but only 118 have been confirmed flu cases.

Compared to the 2016-2017 flu season, there were 1,109 total cases and 275 weekly cases reported for the same time period past year.

Children under 5 and adults older than 65 are the most vulnerable.

National early-season flu vaccination rates released in November by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that only 39 percent of people 6 months and older had received their flu vaccine. Health officials are urging anyone with any sign of flu symptoms to stay home so they don't put others at risk.

Chart showing Hong Kong's 2018 statistics for flu cases falling above the baseline. More than 11,000 people have developed the flu this season as of January 6 and about a third of those people have been hospitalized. "It has been concerning across the country", Ledford said of the flu season.

- The CDC is predicting the current flu vaccine is only going to be about 10-30 percent effective against the current strain.

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