Flu Season Lands Hard on NY and the Southern U.S.


"Those estimates that come out in the news to say 'The vaccine is X percent effective, ' those come directly from the University of MI and four other places", said assistant professor Emily Martin. So there's still a long way to go, she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 80,000 people died nationwide last flu season from the illness, which was the highest death toll in at least four decades.

Gates said the best ways to prevent getting the illness is by getting a flu shot and practicing good hygiene.

Hardest hit thus far has been the southern US, covering a ten state sweep from SC all the way to New Mexico and even up to Utah.

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But there are several months left in the season.

It's too early to tell how severe this season will be or what the mix of viruses will be, Brammer said. It peaks between December and February. Right now, the hospitalization rate is still relatively low compared with a year ago, and deaths are still below epidemic levels, she said.

Still, there are positive signs compared with recent epidemics.

Kentucky reports Louisville is one of the hardest-hit areas right now, with more than 550 confirmed cases recently and 882 cases overall this flu season. You could still end up with the flu even if vaccinated if you are infected with a different virus strain. DHS says the outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better. "We can see from the data that it is starting to grow", he...

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Hospitals were setting up tents and triage units in parking lots, as the more aggressive strain took hold across the country.

A slow season this year will be good news for insurers. According to the North Carolina Public Health Division, flu-like illness in the state has reached more than 2 percent and local transmission has increased. Three people have died from the virus. Adequate supplies of flu vaccine are available for this year's flu season.

He also says people should skip the ER and doctor's if you can. Two have been reported so far.

Gates believes this season has the potential to be a mild one for influenza cases.

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