Wisconsin Department of Health Services says flu activity is rising

Nora Nguyen
January 5, 2019

Officials say flu activity is now "high" and "widespread" across the state.

"The season is really starting to pick up", said Lynnette Brammer, the lead of CDC's domestic influenza surveillance team. At this time last season, there were 12 adult deaths.

The predominant flu strain could also change later in the season, he said. "Another thing is the vaccine might be a lot more effective this year than last year", Hu said. They are still encouraging people to get their flu shots.

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This year's vaccine is considered to be a good match for the strain of the virus now spreading, but in order to get the maximum benefit from the shot, 80 per cent of the population must be immunized. People don't seem to be as sick as they were this time past year, but state officials are warning this flu season could get worse soon. Still, most Albertans don't get vaccinated. "Up from previous weeks where we have 5-6 in an entire week", said Tom Haupt, DHS.

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. She was diagnosed with H1N1 and meningitis before her death.

At-risk groups include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses.

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"Patients with flu-like symptoms should only go to the hospital if they are experiencing severe respiratory distress, have a compromised immune system or are either very old or very young", said Dr. Ashraf Khan, System Director Epidemiology/Infect Control at Lee Health. It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop, but you'll be ready for when the flu peaks which is usually late January, early February. "You shouldn't wait and see if it's a good match or not, because by that time it might be too late".

Stay home when you are sick.

"It's so easy to keep in your purse, in your pocket", she said.

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The predominant strain of flu this year appears to be the H1N1 virus, the same that was responsible for the 1918 pandemic that claimed 15-million lives.

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