Health Care

Flu cases on the rise in Southwest Florida

Flu cases on the rise in Southwest Floridaā€¯

According to a report by Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published at the end of last month, ... the number of suspected influenza cases increased to 53.six people per 1,000 outpatients, from 7.7 people per 1,000 outpatients over the same period in November - a 7-fold increase in the space of a month. The report issued for the week ending December 30 lists seven deaths, bringing the total to 20 for this flu season.

Since September 1st, more than 600 people have been hospitalized in Oklahoma with the flu and 13 have died.

Hendrix said he's seen a fair share of flu shot failures, based on statements from patients, "but it doesn't seem to be worse than in previous years", he said. Also, while those vaccinated can still get sick, they typically experience a milder form of the illness.

Health department director, Dr. Hector Gonzalez says it's best to treat the flu within the first two days, so he encourages those who see symptoms to visit their doctor immediately.

It comes after figures for England and Wales revealed the number of recorded flu cases more than doubled in the week before Christmas. "We know that it does reduce the length of the illness as well as the symptoms", he said.

So far flu activity is mild in Collier but it is beginning to trend up, which is typical for this time of year, she said. Randy Bergen, who oversees the Northern California Kaiser Permanente flu vaccine program. It's especially important for pregnant women, children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory virus that can cause coughing, weariness, fever and other symptoms.

Nationally, there have been 12 pediatric deaths from the flu.

"There's plenty of vaccine, so please go get your flu shot".

The numbers appear alarming because last year's flu season arrived late, and this year's is unusually early, said Aaron Pacheco, spokesman for the Pima County Health Department.

"They're seeing that it's anywhere from 10 percent to 33 percent effective, so any time there's a mismatch between the vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu, you're going to see more cases".

Whitney addressed the contention that the vaccine is only 10 percent effective.

The CDC recommends injectable flu shots and not the nasal spray vaccine because of concerns about its effectiveness, according to the health department.

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