First flu-related death of the season hits Edmonton

Dog Racings Decline Greyhounds race at the Flagler Dog Track in Miami in 2014. One type of canine influenza was first identified in greyhounds 13 years ago

Dog Racings Decline Greyhounds race at the Flagler Dog Track in Miami in 2014. One type of canine influenza was first identified in greyhounds 13 years ago

December is when the flu typically comes out in full force, keeping people home from work or school. Kentucky now is reporting 80 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu with the state flu activity level now classified as "regional".

This year, the onslaught of a particularly deadly strain of the flu virus may lead to a harsher flu season than usual.

Adequate supplies of flu vaccine are expected to be available for this year's season. Since then, a handful of people have come to Public Health with flu-like symptoms and were referred to their doctors for diagnosis and treatment.

Unfortunately, the flu vaccine available in the United States this year was only 10 percent effective in preventing illness from H3N2. You might need it if you find yourself battling the flu.

Over the past few months, Australia, whose flu season just ended, was hit hard with a flu strain that's notorious for causing severe illness, especially in seniors. Regional is the second highest level in terms of the number of influenza outbreaks in the country; widespread is the highest.

Glaser isn't sure why there were so many cases of the flu here last season, but said severity fluctuates from year to year.

CDC's Jernigan cautions there's no good way to predict how bad the upcoming flu season will be. The CDC estimates that 40% to 50% of people who get vaccinated might still get the flu.

The Edmonton region has recorded its first influenza-related death of the season.

In one month, the levels of flu went from mostly sporadic in December 2016 to widespread in almost every state in January 2017. The CDC and the California Department of Public Health are recommending everyone over six months old get vaccinated.

The vaccination program ended a couple of weeks ago, and in addition to adults getting their shots, 1,890 Campbell County students also received a flu shot, said Nachelle McGrath, Campbell County Healthcare Foundation executive director.

The numbers also show vaccinations are ahead of last year's pace.

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