"The flu claims a number of lives in the province every year, and the elderly are one group that is at higher risk of complication from the flu", she explained. In the state, there are 753 confirmed cases of the flu and six flu related deaths. "In general, we see things peaking right about now, but that means there is still a whole lot more flu to go", Jernigan said. Another influenza B virus subtype also is circulating.
While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.
As for this year's vaccine, the CDC still said that is the first line of defense. "Some years they do very well in making a vaccine that covers it all", said Hinkson.
This year's influenza outbreak is already the most widespread on record since health officials began keeping track about a dozen years ago, with millions of Americans being infected by emerging and current strains such as the dominant H3N2.
"Some protection is better than no protection", Bergen said, "but it's certainly disappointing to have a vaccine that's just not as effective as we'd like it to be".
"We suggest the phenomenon of 1918 is not unique", Miller said. If you are sick, avoiding people who are hospitalized, undergoing cancer treatment or who have diabetes or other chronic illnesses is a good idea.
Lakeland Hospital in Niles, meanwhile, reported that it had 70 confirmed flu cases last week - the peak so far this season.
And data from hospitals across our area show the spike in just the last few weeks is undeniable.
She also said if anyone has a fever, they should stay home for 24 hours after the virus has run its course to prevent the bug from spreading. Ly said education is key to changing a patient's mind about getting the flu shot, if they initially decline. They can prescribe anti-viral medications which can help reduce the severity and duration of the flu. So paramedics can't get back on the road to answer more 911 calls, said Kay Fruhwirth, Los Angeles County's assistant director of emergency medical services. IN reported Friday that the death count from state influenza victims had risen to 50.
Some long-term care facilities have issued warnings on the west coast and in central Newfoundland, restricting visitation as a precaution against the flu season.