4500 new flu cases reported in Pennsylvania

This year's flu season could be more severe than years past because of the dominant strain H3N2

Derek Forster, medical director for infection, prevention, and control says the procedures are created to help protect, patients, visitors, and staff from exposure to the flu virus.

Stirling Manor Nursing Home and Picton's Bridge Street Retirement Residence are also affected.

He said people should avoid visiting those places if sick. In past years, the effectiveness of flu vaccines in general has been lower against H3N2 viruses than against other influenza A- or B-strain flu viruses.

"Oftentimes the respiratory outbreaks will continue until ... even into April", he said.

"It takes about two weeks to become fully effective, but it gains effectiveness over that time", Levine said, "and even if it is not completely effective in preventing the flu, it can limit how severe the case of flu is and how long it lasts".

There is no widespread shortage of influenza vaccine or medications in California, said Dr. Gilberto Chávez, state epidemiologist and deputy director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health.

"It's never too late to get your flu vaccine", Horton said.

Annually, between 600,000 and 2.4 million people come down with the flu in Pennsylvania, with between 120 and 2,000 dying, depending on the type of strain that circulates. About 1,500 doses were provided. The rise in patients seeking the vaccine from pharmacies has led to a decline in those getting their shots from health units. Northern Hospital has treated mostly older adults, ages 65 and over, for the flu.

County, state and national public health officials use several markers to define the flu season, including the number of deaths.

The emergency room at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica has had to turn away patients as more than 200 people have come in reporting flu-like symptoms, numbers that doctors haven't seen since the 1994 Northridge quake that killed 57.

The overall number of influenza cases continued a surge that began in late December. There have been 34 reported deaths.

Area hospitals are taking precautions to protect patients and health-care workers during flu season. It shows 44 per cent of patients were seniors.

Seniors have been the worst-affected, accounting for the majority of hospitalizations and deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread flu activity in 46 states, including in NY.

Iowa also was bumped up to "moderate" flu activity, up from "minimal" the week before.

This brings the total to four deaths so far during the 2017-2018 flu season. "That's a lot more than usual, '" he said. That's nearly twice the rate as last season.

Two dogs in the Windsor area, meanwhile, are believed to be the first in Canada to have tested positive for a canine form of flu. Part of the reason for the spike is this season's strain of the flu, H3N2.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, this is how widespread the virus is in Texas. For details on canine flu, speak to your veterinarian.

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