Officials report Iowa flu toll has risen to 14 since October

Eastern Health

The number of Californians under 65 who've died of the flu has jumped to 42, compared with nine at the same time previous year, state officials said Friday. In a press conference on Friday morning, the CDC says flu season appears to be peaking.

Nationally, flu is widespread in 46 states, including California, according to the latest reports to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The province's health professionals describe this year's flu season as average, the only surprise is that it started earlier than expected in November.

"They can carry influenza viruses not have as many symptoms", said Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease doctor with Novant Health, "So to keep our patients safe in buildings, we say it's best if you don't bring children into the hospital to visit".

The prevalent strain circulating the state is classified as influenza A (H3N2), and is associated with more severe cases requiring hospitalization and death among seniors and young children than other strains. "They have no extra beds, they're seeing lots of ill patients with influenza-like illnesses or confirmed cases of flu", Carter said.

When it comes to how the developers missed the mark with the vaccine, it's largely due to doctors at the World Health Organization having to try to predict what strains of the flu will be prominent in an upcoming flu season. As is traditional, editorials are unsigned and meant to be seen as the voice of the news organization. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses.

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It is still too soon to say just how bad this flu season will be, but the CDC believes it could reach near epidemic levels.

Health officials said the A strain is the most prevalent this season.

The most recent hospitalization rate for flu was 22.7 per 100,000 people, up from 13.7 per 100,000 last week. "We think we have likely peaked we will know better in a couple of weeks when the lab reports from the holiday season".

Basic measures such as washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, and coughing into sleeves or tissues can help stem the flu from spreading further. They said it's still worthwhile to get vaccinated.

Experts say the flu shot may be only 30% effective this year, but can still reduce the severity of symptoms for people who get the flu.

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