Health department confirms fourth flu-related death in Lexington

ND & MN Flu Activity

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America's flu season is still going strong, but has eased a bit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The 11 deaths were reported during the week of February 9-15, bringing the state total to 90 flu-related deaths since the season began in late September, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the report published Thursday, the vaccine reduced doctor visits associated with flu by 45%.

Public health said the flu affects mostly children that are 6 months of age or younger because they can not get vaccinated.

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The CDC estimates so far this season there have been 26 million flu illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 flu deaths. Also, as the number of influenza B cases decreased, the number of H1N1 cases increased, he said. The child was not vaccinated against the virus.

He or she tested positive for influenza B, a strain of the flu that emerged early this flu season and has largely affected children. But the CDC estimates that the vaccine has been about 50% effective against that strain in children.

Vaccine effectiveness was said to be lower among adults aged 18 through 49 years, especially against the H1N1 viruses where the estimated effectiveness was 5 percent.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski, lead author of the study and lead epidemiologist for influenza at the BC Centre for Disease Control, said the study involved about 2,800 patients who were seen by their physicians for a flu-like illness between November 1, 2019 and February 1.

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"Regular measures to prevent and treat flu when it's severe are more important than ever", Flannery says. For the influenza B/Victoria viruses it was 50% effective.

British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick are the only provinces that do not offer publicly funded vaccination for influenza for all residents but provide it in limited cases, including for pregnant women.

Overall, VE against any strain was 58%, including 74% in children ages 1 to 19 years, and 18% in adults 65 and older.

This season began with a surge of influenza B, a strain that has hit children the hardest. A total of 203 deaths were reported last season.

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The vaccines are made each year to protect against three or four different kinds of flu virus. Even though the flu shot isn't 100 percent effective, he encourages people to get it every year.

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