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Flu cases increase in Lucas County

10 January 2019

Meanwhile, 19 states and New York City were reporting high levels of influenza-like illness activity, meaning a much higher-than-average proportion of doctor's visits could be attributed to the flu.

Since September, PHAC says 414 children under age 16 have been hospitalized for flu, with the highest estimated rate of admission among kids under five years of age. Children, pregnant women, and the elderly are among the highest risk groups for flu-related complications.

Zaleski said there have been no pediatric deaths in the county from the flu this season.

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There have been 6 deaths this season likely directly linked to flu.

"We are seeing numbers rise in our region", said Dr. Irfan Hafiz, an infectious disease specialist who serves as chief medical officer of the northwest region of Northwestern Medicine.

Local health department contact information can be found here and information on flu vaccination clinics can be found here. "This is a tragic reminder that the flu can still kill and that children are particularly susceptible to the illness".

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But he can tell you it's not too late to get your flu shot. Vaccines protect against multiple flu strains. While the CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against the flu by the end of October, getting a flu shot later can still be beneficial.

"So we would like everybody who's eligible to get the vaccine", said Russell, noting that it takes about two weeks for antibodies induced by the shot to come into full effect. Bankole also said that after the 2009 outbreak of H1N1, people developed improved natural immunity to the virus, which means symptoms tend to be milder even for people who contract the flu. Complications associated with the virus can lead to hospitalization or death, especially for seniors, young children and people with compromised immune systems, Hafiz said.

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Flu cases increase in Lucas County