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Flu season continues slow start in Erie

23 December 2018
Flu season continues slow start in Erie

Nationally, there have been six influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported during the 2018-2019 flu season; and while there's only been localized flu activity across MI in the past few weeks, the health department "strongly recommends" that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot.

No other details about the case were disclosed Friday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Flu is a contagious, viral respiratory illness.

NMDOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone six months of age and older get their flu vaccine and strongly encourages residents to contact their local healthcare providers or pharmacies to receive vaccine for protection against influenza and pneumonia.

"Today we have a global surveillance system, antiviral drugs to treat flu illness, antibiotics to treat secondary infections and the ability to develop vaccines", the CDC said.

To compare, in 2013-14 and 2015-16 (the two previous H1N1-dominant seasons) the hospitalization rates among children younger than 5 years old for the same week were 7.2 per 100,000 and 1.8 per 100,000, respectively. About 80,000 people died of the flu during the 2017-18 flu season.

The MDHHS says this is the sixth flu-related death in the nation during the 2018-2019 flu season.

So far this year, about 45 percent of adults and 46 percent of children have been vaccinated, he said.

In the week that ended December 15, the most recent for which there is data, there were 1,230 lab-confirmed cases of the flu statewide, 601 of which were in New York City specifically. To keep from getting sick, officials advise people to: "eat well, keep their feet dry [and] avoid crowds". If you do still get the flu you're 60 percent less likely to need treatment. And as we head into peak flu season, the vaccine looks good. It takes about two weeks to kick in to full effect.