Suspected Flu Deaths in Alabama

Joy Montgomery
January 29, 2018

They are driving influenza infections to levels not seen since the swine flu pandemic of 2009, public health officials said.

"That's the kicker. This virus really doesn't look that different from what we saw previous year", said Richard Webby, a flu researcher at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

The season is shaping up to be similar to the epidemic of late 2014 and early 2015, which entailed 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths, according to the CDC. Or there may be some degree of mutation in the virus that hasn't been detected yet, said the CDC's Dr. Dan Jernigan, in a call with reporters Friday. The government said that number may double before its over.

The District of Columbia along with five states (Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, and Vermont) experienced moderate activity.

The federal team would collect data on the virus' spread across NY, tracking which strains are taking the biggest toll and whether the disease is changing as it spreads.

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Dr Jernigan said baby-boomers - those in the 50 to 64 age bracket - are now being hit particularly hard. This is especially bad news for them, given a new study linking the flu to increased risk of heart attacks. "Those folks are ones who really would benefit from having a higher vaccination coverage".

More Americans are seeking medical care for flu than at any time since the "swine" pandemic of almost a decade ago, say USA health officials. When they're home sick in bed, it can negatively impact their businesses. By the time this flu season is over, experts said, more than 50,000 Americans will be dead.

As of January 18, the weekly rate of hospitalizations for the flu in NY was the highest it had been since reporting began in 2004. Palese's vaccine aims to stimulate antibodies that bind to the more "conserved" areas on the stalk and which remain the same every year and are common to most seasonal flu viruses. Last season, about 47 percent of Americans got vaccinated, according to CDC figures.

The nursing staff tells Fox 4 there will be another clinic Sunday at Immokalee's Department of Health at 419 North First Street.

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