A different strain of the flu virus is invading the nation and is hitting Utah



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SALT LAKE CITY – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a second wave of influenza virus was striking some US states, including Utah.

While the H1N1 virus was the most prevalent strain of the virus at the beginning of the Utah season, the H3N2 strain has increased in recent weeks and accounts for nearly 75% of the subtype A viruses of the week 10, according to the latest weekly influenza report from the Utah Department of Health report.

"H3N2 … is a particularly serious flu strain," said Rebecca Ward, a health educator with the department. "It's actually probably a little more mean than the H1N1."

The severity of the flu season in the state is considered high, according to the report released Wednesday. However, the severity of the week was rated moderate.

"It's not unusual to see a second wave of influenza activity caused by a different type of flu, however, it is normally caused by influenza B virus instead of the other strain of the virus." influenza A ", says the report.

In addition, for the first time this season, the pneumonia and influenza mortality rate was above the epidemic threshold of the ninth week of the season, from February 24 to March 3. He fell below the threshold at week 10.

So far this season, 1,349 people in Utah have been hospitalized for reasons associated with the flu, the report says.

Officials urge Utahn to be vaccinated against the flu, which is effective against H1N1 and H3N2 strains.

"You'd better get vaccinated and it's not too late yet," Ward said. "You are looking at three or four different strains of the flu, so you could be protected against all of these, even if you had one, there might be another one that floats and you want to be protected against it."

It takes 10 to 14 days for vaccines to be effective, Ward added. If people travel outside the state or country, they should plan their flu shot in advance, she advised.

"So you make sure that the immune response is activated," she said.

Ward pointed out that the flu virus can be observed until May and added that the department's surveillance period for the flu season extends from October to May.

In the United States, Utah is one of 32 states with a high influenza-like activity, according to the CDC.

"We therefore hope that the number of our hospitalizations and influenza-like illnesses will decrease slightly," Ward said. "We just know that there is still an influenza activity."

Officials do not know when this season's peak will occur, she said.

In addition to being vaccinated, the Utah Department of Health encourages people to wash their hands, stay home when they are sick and take antiviral drugs against the flu if they are prescribed.

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