New Yorkers urged to get flu shots after child dies from illness

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Despite concerns that the flu shot isn't as effective this year, health officials say it's too early to confirm.

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health reports 1,282 cases of influenza in the first week of January.

The Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), has reported the state's first pediatric deaths for the 2017-18 flu season. It has reached epidemic levels, which it does every year, Jernigan said.

"We're into our [peak] season, so we're going to see a lot more flu activity coming up", said Anderson.

The most common strain circulating this year is the H3N2 influenza A, which tends to hit the youngest and oldest people the hardest.

Prof Robert Dingwall, from Nottingham Trent University, fears the pandemic could kill as many as the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1968, when a million people died worldwide. Some hospitals in California have been so overwhelmed that they had to send patients to other ERs.

In the Houston area, almost 42 percent of emergency room visits for flu-related symptoms have been from children, ages 4 and under.

"For most people who do get Aussie flu, it will be a normal flu-like illness lasting around seven days, and many people who get the flu this year will have another strain rather than this one".

Health professionals say one reason for the spike in cases may be that year's flu vaccine was not as effective as in other years.

Out of the 427 cases of students with flu-like symptoms, 118 cases were confirmed with the flu since the beginning of the school year.

The vaccine developed this year is meant to protect against several strains, including the H3N2 virus, dubbed "Aussie flu" after Australia suffered its worst ever outbreak in the Southern Hemisphere winter.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith encouraged people eligible for free vaccination, including the elderly, young children, mothers-to-be and health workers, to make sure they were protected from the disease.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced eight deaths occurred this week, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths to 14 since October 1, 2017. Thoroughly clean linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by the sick person before reusing.

· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Germs spread this way.

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