Flu cases on the rise; H1N1 most prevalent strain

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccinations for everyone age 6 months or older.

"The incidence of influenza has increased this past week". Among those with influenza A subtype information, 272 (79.3%) were H1N1 and 71 (20.7%) were H3N2.

The Christmas and New Year holidays are opportune times for the respiratory virus to spread, health department officials said, noting close family time and work celebrations frequently are breeding grounds for the flu.

The CDC said 4.5 percent of people who went to the hospital the week of December 22 either had the flu or flu-like illnesses, and it was higher than the week before. "Also do not forget to cover your cough and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth because germs are spread this way". And this related to the history of people's exposure to flu. "The shot does the most good when it is given earlier in the flu season - in the fall - but if you haven't gotten yours yet it's not too late".

Numbers are down for 2018-2019 compared to the same time period the previous year, with the surveillance system counting 81 for the same 12-week period in 2017-2018.

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Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 73 percent were influenza A, and 27 percent were influenza B, the ADH states in its latest Influenza Weekly Report. "That's probably because compared to a year ago, we already know in both Iowa and nationally, we've had more people take the vaccine".

His best advice heading into flu season? At this time in the last flu season Kentucky had twelve flu-related deaths, all adults.

"The U.S., nearly alone in the Northern Hemisphere, had a very bad flu season related to the H3N2", said Dr. Arnold Monto, a world-renown flu expert at the University of MI.

Doctors advise everyone over six months old to take the vaccine, especially those who are pregnant or have chronic health complications. With significant flu still to come this season, CDC continues to recommend that anyone who has not yet gotten a flu vaccine this season should get vaccinated now. While you may feel that you are healthy and immune to the flu, vaccinating yourself helps protect others around you as well and prevents transmission of the virus. DHS says the outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better.

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