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Pottawatomie County: Flu picks up speed in region

The Shawnee News-Star - 1/2/2018

Dec. 31--This week showed an early spike in Oklahoma flu cases compared to past seasons.

According to this week's FluView report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at cdc.gov, Pottawatomie County recorded its first flu hospitalization in mid-October and its second case about a month later. December, however, has reported seven cases so far. Often in the area, the higher volume in reports of flu rises around mid-January and peaks around mid-February.

The number of cases in the state between Dec. 20 and 26 were reported to nearly double, at 121 -- compared to 65 the week before.

Another new flu-related death brings the count up to 10 in the state reported since the season started at the beginning of September, the site reports. The state's first deaths were recorded the week of Thanksgiving, while the other eight are counted among December figures.

The number of total hospitalizations and/or deaths for the season bumped up to 425 -- compared to 262 last week.

The CDC reports seasonal influenza activity also has increased sharply in the United States. The site reported the number of states assessing widespread flu activity jumped from 12 to 23, the proportion of samples testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories went from 8.4 percent to 14.0 percent, and the percentage of people seeking outpatient care for influenza-like illness (ILI) increased from 2.7 percent to 3.5 percent over last week's report. ILI has been at or above the national baseline for four weeks so far this season.

Oklahoma is counted among 10 states experiencing high ILI activity. Others are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas.

H3N2 viruses continue to predominate.

The total number of Oklahoma hospitalizations for the 2016-2017 season was 2,412. The season was predominately influenza A H3N2 with a second wave of influenza B.

In the United States last season, overall vaccine effectiveness against all circulating flu viruses was 39 percent, and VE was only a bit lower (32 percent) against H3N2 viruses.

The 2017-18 influenza season ends the third week in May 2018.


(c)2018 The Shawnee News-Star, Okla.

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