Health Care

Flu widespread across most of U.S., with 3 new kids' deaths

Flu widespread across most of U.S., with 3 new kids' deaths”

So far, nearly eight thousand lab confirmed cases of the flu have been reported in Missouri.

A simple flu shot is an easy way to prevent catching the nasty virus, and it can be easily found, but health officials say many aren't taking the time to get protected. For the last three weeks, the health authority has seen fewer than three new lab-confirmed cases a day, down from five new cases a day, Waters said.

That's the message from B.C.'s top doctor as flu season continues, and this one has hit a bit differently than in years past.

Influenza B strain viruses, which lead to the same flu symptoms as A strain viruses, are also circulating, as usual, this season.

Flu season generally lasts into March or even April, Henry adds.

She said this year's mid-season analysis by the Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network (SPSN) has reported encouraging results.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says flu activity has increased around the country in the last week, with more than nine million people having been sick with the flu.

On Vancouver Island, the influenza A H1N1 virus has sent children and people in their forties and fifties to hospital this season.

On its weekly FluWatch website, PHAC said there were 20,494 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases reported by the provinces and territories as of January 12, a lot of them caused by H1N1 and most affecting those under age 65. About half of those people have sought medical care for the illness, including more than 100,000 who were hospitalized. But influenza can also cause severe illness or death especially in high-risk people, warns the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, at least seven children under age 10 died from complications of influenza as of January 12. "In many parts of Canada, including British Columbia, we have passed the peak in influenza activity due to the now dominating strain, which is an H1N1 kind of strain", Skowronski said.

"So the prediction that was made by the World Health Organization experts in February or March past year turned out to be pretty correct", he said.

According to the BC CDC, the H1N1 virus tends to have the most effect children and non-elderly adults, while the H3N2 strain is more of a problem for the elderly.

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