CDC reports widespread flu activity in 46 states

Deadly Australian flu spreads across the world

Six people have died from influenza in Santa Barbara County in the past two weeks, the Public Health Department announced Monday afternoon. "I have seen an increased number of flu cases". "I couldn't get out of bed".

Pharmacies have been scrambling to restock their shelves with Tamiflu this flu-season. So far, 26 states are reporting high levels of outpatient visits for influenza-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease control.

Nationally, as of mid-December, at least 106 people had died from the infectious disease, according to the CDC.

The California death toll is rapidly growing as this season's massive flu outbreak has left hospitals across the USA overcrowded and pharmacies running out of medication to treat the virus.

It says the H3N2 canine virus is highly transmissible between dogs and has become widespread in parts of Asia and caused outbreaks in some USA locations, particularly in shelters.

However, Murti said those figures are an underestimate of the actual number of cases, as most people don't seek medical attention for flu and, therefore, aren't tested. "Certainly we're seeing that in the hospital", he said. "But we don't know what's going to happen".

The strain of influenza virus dominating this season is known as type A, subtype H3N2, and it's notorious among flu experts for being more severe and more vaccine-resistant than its sister strains.

County, state and national public health officials use several markers to define the flu season, including the number of deaths.

Same story here in the panhandle but is it really that much different than any other year?

In light of panic over reports of the vaccine's effectiveness, the CDC reported that it expects the American vaccine to be 32 percent effective against the H3N2 virus, but this week saw the flu become highly active in 21 states. Young children are considered among the most vulnerable to complications from the disease, and a shot can significantly reduce a child's chances of dying. Although flu peaks between December and February, the virus can continue as late as May, which means it's not too late to get a shot. Experts say this year's may only be up to 30 percent effective, but some protection is better than nothing.

Shots may still be available from your doctor or local health clinic, as well as at some chain drugstores.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Remaining hydrated, eating nutritious foods and exercising can also help strengthen your immune system.

"Flu season is something that all school districts are concerned about, so we do everything we can to prevent people from missing school and that includes all our staff".

If you feel as if you're having trouble breathing or if your fever can't be controlled with medication like Tylenol, check with your doctor.

"What's important about influenza B is actually its impact on kids", Tam said.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

And Bergen cautioned that these medications are only partly effective, reducing the time of illness by just a day or two.

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