Flu cases double since past year

After a slow start in October, flu season in the United States is gaining speed, particularly in the South.

Nearly all deaths among children under five with influenza-related lower respiratory tract infections occur in developing countries, but the effects of seasonal influenza epidemics on the world's poorest are not fully known. Because they didn't reflect the experience of developing countries, the numbers are thought to underestimate the true death burden.

Global death rates from seasonal influenza are likely between 291,000 and 646,000 people each year, depending on the severity of the circulating flu strain, they said. The estimate also took into account several recent respiratory mortality studies, including one published in the Lancet on Thursday by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

World Health Organization encourages countries to prioritize influenza prevention and produce national estimates to inform prevention policies.

As noted in the CDC, the majority of deaths happen in people who are over the age of 75 years, as well as people from the poorest nations. Sub-Saharan Africa has the greatest risk, followed by the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.

Statewide flu data for SC for the week ending December 9 shows that there were 28 influenza cases per 100,000 for Horry County, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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"That being said, the authors of the preliminary Australian study did make a point of saying in their article that annual vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent influenza infection each year", Lantrip said in an email.

Although recommendations are in place, the problem is that more often than not, underdeveloped countries are unable to produce and distribute seasonal vaccines, and many lack vaccination programs.

But this year's flu shot may not be up to the task.

He was a long-term resident of the care facility and reportedly had other health complications, according to the DPH. The CDC says worldwide, flu deaths are spiking. Meanwhile, the DPH recommends children 6 months to 8 years old getting vaccinated for the first time should get two doses of vaccine.

For additional information about influenza, including how it is monitored in New York State, visit the Department of Health web page.

  • Marjorie Miles