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Health officials: Flu rampant in NY

15 December 2017

"We're seeing a pretty steep increase in influenza activity across the USA but especially in the south", co-author Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist in the CDC's flu division, told CNN. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

After a slow start in October, flu season in the United States is gaining speed, particularly in the South.

Each year in New York City alone, more than 2,000 New Yorkers die of seasonal influenza and pneumonia, which can often develop as a complication of the flu, according to the city.

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Nearly all deaths among children under five with influenza-related lower respiratory tract infections occur in developing countries, but the effects of seasonal influenza epidemics on the world's poorest are not fully known.

To fight the flu, the CDC and local health department recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs and taking flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

Despite this guidance, fewer than half of Americans have received a jab this season.

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If you get sick, look out for severe aches and pains in your muscles and joints, notable fatigue and weakness, headaches and a high fever. Most people recover in less than two weeks. If you work with people, especially if you work with people who may have a compromised immune system such as young children, the elderly or those already sick, not getting your flu shot may be considered negligence if someone gets infected as a result of an employee not getting their flu shot. "And, since there is some question that the flu might peak around the holidays, my recommendation is to not wait any longer", said Dr. Daniel Skiest, vice-chair of the Department of Medicine and an infectious disease specialist at Baystate Medical Center, in a statement urging people to get vaccinated. "Flu typically goes through March, so at any time if you want to come in and get a flu shot, you can get a flu shot", said Carroll. At the top of that list would be pregnant woman and behind that anyone with chronic diseases.

"That being said, the authors of the preliminary Australian study did make a point of saying in their article that annual vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent influenza infection each year", Lantrip said in an email.

It's still early in the flu season, and who knows for sure what direction it's going to take - it's kind of like the weather that way.

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Health officials: Flu rampant in NY