Ohio Department of Health reports state's first pediatric flu death of season

Administering a flu vaccination to a patient is Terri Buratczuk clinical director of the Tri City Health Partnership a free health clinic in St. Charles that provides services for those who are uninsured or underinsured

There were 1,750 new flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January. There have been 3,854 flu hospitalizations reported in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health has confirmed this death.

The most predominant strain circulating through Mohave County and Arizona is Influenza AH3, which causes more severe illness and is the least effective component of the seasonal flu vaccine, as compared with Influenza AH1N1 and Influenza B, the county health official said.

Jill Baber, influenza surveillance coordinator with the Division of Disease Control with the state, said eight cases have resulted in death, and two of those were in the state's northeast quadrant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu season nationwide is far worse than what they saw a year ago at this time.

"It's safe to say that we are now experiencing a flu outbreak and these three voluntarily reported flu-related deaths reflect that", said Chief Epidemiologist Russell Jones.

He said the H3N2 influenza strain is showing up, which can mean more severe illness in children and people who are older or with compromised immune systems. A flu shot can also reduce a child's chance of dying from the flu.

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Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

"The Influenza-A H1N1 outbreak in Kumasi Academy started on the 29th November 2017 and as of 31st December 2017, a total of 95 cases (suspected, probable and confirmed) including four (4) deaths have been reported".

Wischmeier says it's still worthwhile getting a flu shot, even though the season has been underway in full force.

Although the flu vaccine is typically less than 50 percent effective doctors still recommend it. Antiviral drugs work best when administered within two days of getting sick.

"If you have the vaccine and you contract the flu, your symptoms are less than if you did not get the vaccine", Dr. Cannon said. "People are bad about coughing into their hands and then they don't wash their hands, and then, of course, we transmit the flu". If you have symptoms of influenza, contact your health care provider promptly to find out if antiviral treatment is needed.

The months of January and February often bring more patients with flu symptoms into waiting rooms of physician offices, urgent care centers and hospital emergency departments.

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