Much ado about the flu

CHENANGO COUNTY — The 2014 - 2015 flu season has returned to an epidemic level, according to the latest set of figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and personnel from the Chenango County Public Health Department are offering tips to keep your family safe from this year's Flu.

Technically, an epidemic means that the prevalence is higher than usual number of cases. Nationwide, 8.5 percent of deaths reported in the U.S. for the week ending January 10 were due to pneumonia and influenza, which is slightly higher than this time last year. The CDC does not track adult deaths, however it does keep track of the number of children who die after having the flu.

According to the CDC, there were an additional 19 children who died since the numbers for the United States were reported last week, bringing this flu seasons' pediatric death toll up to 45 – a marked increase over the 27 deaths reported this time last year.

“You may have heard that the flu vaccine isn’t working very well this year, and that is true,” Darlene Gramstad Chenango County Public Heath Department Director of Patient Services. “Although this year’s vaccine does not seem to be working as well as we had hoped against the H3N2 (influenza A) viruses, although it is proving to be effective against other strains of flu. Vaccination is still the best protection against the flu, and it can reduce hospitalizations and deaths,” she said.

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