Not too late for flu shots

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The Department of Health has also been directed to stay in contact with the Centers for Disease Control to ensure NY continues to have adequate flu vaccines. "However, we know from past experience, it will be many more weeks for flu activity to slow down".

Health officials said last week flu was blanketing the country but they thought there was a good chance the season had already peaked.

"Pretty much the entire country is getting hit pretty hard at the same time", said Lynette Brammer, who heads the domestic influenza surveillance team at the CDC. "We still have a responsibility to protect public health and still have inspectors that will go out and inspect these healthcare facilities", Dr. Harris said.

'She had a fever of 103, ' Valenzia added.

The flu is always risky, causing an estimated 9 million to 35 million illnesses, 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths in the United States in a typical year, CDC says.

In other words, that's more than 8,000 employees.

Byrne said many are catching the flu in Sedgwick County, and schools are reporting a higher number of flu-related illnesses than in years past. "The states would still be doing their jobs", Brammer said. At work, make sure your communal spaces are sanitized. The flu season typically peaks near the end of February but the flu season kicked off earlier than normal. People working at the CDC could potentially be furloughed until further notice. "We had hundreds and hundreds of specimens stacking up in the receiving lab", he recalled.

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Jernigan offered USA Today a bit of a hope, though, as he said this year's flu season was "probably peaking" last week. In the US, annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older.

Californian health authorities said Friday that flu fatalities among Californians under 65 this year has risen to a record 74, which highlighted a serious epidemic that US scientists say could easily be spread by simply breathing.

Officials were hoping the season had peaked in the first week of January, but the latest data show activity continued to increase into the second week. The hospitalization rate is now at 31.5 people per 100,000 USA residents.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus.

"We have a mixed bag of viruses out there", Brammer said.

Among the new strategies: Researchers are dissecting the cloak that disguises influenza as it sneaks past the immune system, and finding some rare targets that stay the same from strain to strain, year to year. Still, it's impossible to forecast.

Deb Minor, Yates County's public health director, said the county saw its first confirmed case on December 13 but since Christmas has seen a substantial increase, with 31 cases of influenza A and six of influenza B.

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