Flu-related deaths in Arkansas rise by 4, now stands at 10

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The Kentucky Department for Public Health is reporting "widespread" flu activity, which is the highest level the state gives for the virus. "Previous year it was 17 weeks which was really very long". That strain has been circulating and was pandemic in 2009 and in 1918. The 2017-2018 season was the deadliest in decades, killing more than 80,000 people. Two children's deaths related to the flu were reported in the week ending December 29, bringing the flu's death toll for children to 13 for this season, according to the CDC. Overall, influenza is considered more intense than the common cold.

An estimated five to 12 percent of Pennsylvanians get the flu each season. When that strain predominated, almost 1 million Americans were hospitalized and 80,000 died. The majority of those cases have been the specific H1N1 strain.

"There are two types when we talk about this virus - A and B - this year we have the A strain which has a particular predilection for some people under 65", Dr Kelleher said.

"But as we see a jump in activity as we did this week, we would expect an increase in hospitalizations, and unfortunately, probably an increase in mortality", Brammer said.

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The number of flu cases to date this season is comparable to the number of cases at the same time last season. "There were just a lot more cases", she said.

"She was a attractive little girl", her mother said. To avoid catching the flu, get vaccinated each year and practice good hand hygiene.

Galbraith added that it's not too late to get vaccinated against the flu.

Getting a flu shot should be at the top of the list for those at high risk for flu, including the elderly and people with heart disease or lung disease and pregnant women. "If you don't go into the doctor and get tested, we're not going to know about it".

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Mission Health team members and visitors can help prevent the spread of influenza by practicing frequent hand hygiene, staying home if they are sick and getting an annual influenza vaccine. Based on the percentage of outpatient visits from influenza, the flu season usually peaks in late December and mid-February.

Hardest hit thus far has been the Southern U.S., covering a ten state sweep from SC all the way to New Mexico and even up to Utah.

Flu activity is increasing in New York City, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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