Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Flu death toll continues to rise in Spokane

Flu death toll continues to rise in Spokane

The latest recommendation follows results from a US study in young children that showed vaccines containing a 2017-2018 strain of H1N1 flu virus performed better than the 2015-2016 strain that had shown decreased effectiveness, AstraZeneca said.

"The biggest reason that FluMist or LAIV wasn't recommended in the past couple of seasons was because it really didn't show very good protection", said the CDC's Kristen Nordlund. She urged parents to get their children vaccinated against influenza if they had not already done so, despite it being late in the season. Overall, the flu shot has prevented 36% of all strains thus far, but three-quarters of verified flu cases have been caused by the leading strain known as H3N2 influenza, and the vaccine has prevented only 25% of the illnesses caused by this type of influenza.

The number of people seeking care for flu-like symptoms traditionally peaks during the vacation, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said, and this year around 36,000 people sought emergency treatment for the flu during the February 15-20 vacation. Even still, the California Department of Public Health expects several more weeks of flu activity and the mortality rate could continue to climb because it can be days or weeks after the initial infection that complications can set in.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that 84 children nationwide have died from the flu.

People in high risk groups listed above and those who live with or care for high risk individuals are especially encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu.

Health professionals also say if you're sick stay home until your symptoms are completely gone to avoid spreading them in the workplace or school.

Known as the live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), the nasal spray is preferred by some parents and children as an alternative to getting a shot, but the ACIP had voted against its use in the U.S.

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