First 2 flu-related deaths of season in Washoe County

Ross Houston
December 8, 2017

Influenza is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by a virus.

Reports of flu in our area are now only sporadic.

Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma reported widespread activity during the week ended November 25, the report stated. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all people 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccine.

For answers to questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, people can access the CDC website at, or contact the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at 325-646-0554.

Experts believe the flu virus is spread when a sick person talks, sneezes or coughs. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.

However, as Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, pointed out, the flu has potentially serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. "So you don't take it home to someone you love", Dillaha said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.

Are pregnant women getting "appropriate" care?

"The numbers are tiny right now, but they're just the tip of the iceberg", said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, vice president for clinical affairs at the University of New England in Biddeford and Maine's former top public health official. While some people get flu even after receiving a flu shot, the vaccine frequently lessens the severity and duration of illness.

"But we can not say we will go on to experience the kind of severe season Australia had, in part because we ourselves had a fairly severe epidemic due to H3N2 in 2016-17", Skowronski said. "Flu viruses are notoriously unpredictable, but from the information I've received, all indications point to a possibly severe flu season in Vermont". "We're having about five times the amount of influenza B pickup during the autumn period in British Columbia than we typically have", she said.

'Continued efforts are needed to increase the percentage of the population vaccinated during the next few months in order to reduce the burden of flu, ' the authors of the CDC report said.

"Everybody's risk is different", Schwartz said.

And the vaccine is no guarantee of protection.

Flu shot rates are lower than hoped this year, new CDC figures reveal as America hurtles towards one of the worst flu seasons in years.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the vaccine had a ten percent effectiveness against the flu in Australia.

Although H3N2 is not as virulent as some other strains of flu, it mutates very easily, making it stronger against the body's immune system.

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