Flu kills Ont. child, suspected in second death: health officials

Guelph area child dies from flu, 2nd child's death possibly flu-related

She said: "Influenza A/H3 influenza viruses are known to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality than H1 and B viruses; and during H3 predominant seasons, we see increases in disease burden [the impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality and other indicators]".

Officials conceded that they can't predict when the epidemic will end.

That was the sobering assessment offered Friday by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat.

Schuchat noted that this season, "We are on track to break recent records".

Officials also confirmed the flu is still considered widespread in Puerto Rico and 48 states, and they expect the number of flu cases to remain elevated.

"This is a hard season, and we can't predict how much longer the severe season will last", Schuchat said.

This season has also seen the highest flu hospitalization rate since 2010, according to a KSDK report.




At long-term care facilities in Minnesota, 13 outbreaks were reported in the week ending February 3, the state health department reported.

Most of Indiana's flu-related deaths this season have involved people age 65 and older, but almost 83 percent of the influenza-like illnesses reported this year to the state involve people age 24 and younger.

This flu season is presently over 11 weeks old, and the normal flu season endures four months. In the last five years, the CDC says influenza-like activity in the USA has remained elevated anywhere from 11 to 20 weeks, so we may have nearly two more months of misery.

Preventing flu with vaccination is the best way to avoid trouble, of course, but statistics released last week out of Canada suggest this season's vaccine is just 17 percent effective against the H3N2 strain.

That different type of the virus cannot only infect people who have managed to avoid the flu so far this season, but it can also re-infect those who came down with Influenza A earlier in the season - a cruel double whammy.

Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department's spokesperson, said the department is looking into expanding outreach for flu shots, particularly aimed at vulnerable populations like the elderly, homeless or young children.

'Some protection is better than none, ' Dr Schuchat said. One out of every 10 people who died in the USA last week died of flu or associated illness. This action provides enhanced reimbursement to counties and will help fund expanded efforts to promote and increase access to flu vaccines statewide. "Even when the flu vaccine is 'less effective, ' it's a good bet", she said.

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