Influenza Rates Expected to Rise

by Bidita Debnath on Jan 4 2017 12:00 AM

 Influenza Rates Expected to Rise
People with bad colds and flu symptoms have been urged to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible as levels of influenza and respiratory illness continue to rise throughout the country.
The latest influenza report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows the rate of the influenza like illness has doubled in the past week with older people at greater risk of contracting the predominant flu strain AH3. The illness rate is expected to further rise in the coming weeks.

The flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5 million flu-associated illnesses and 71,000 flu hospitalizations in 2015, yet only two out of five people in the United States reported getting a flu vaccine this year as of late 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the latest statistics, there have been a total of 96 people hospitalised for influenza so far in the 2016/2017 winter season, with the majority of those hospitalised aged 65 years and older. Eight cases of the flu strain have been admitted to critical care units and there has been one confirmed case of death from the strain to date this season.

One specific demographic where we are seeing fewer vaccinations is among pregnant women, which is concerning as the flu and its complications can endanger both the mother and her baby.

While new findings published in the December 9, 2016 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report show that flu vaccine coverage during pregnancy has increased in recent years, the number of pregnant women receiving the flu shot is still well below target goals. In fact, more than half of pregnant women are still unvaccinated.

Although reasons may vary as to why so many have yet to receive the flu vaccination, one reason may be that people are feeling less vulnerable because of the low overall flu activity in recent years.