Influenza rates climb in Georgia, a country


Between February 2 and 9, the number of people seeking treatment for the flu has reached its highest level since the start of the flu season last October.

And in Georgia, the number of people with flu-like symptoms who have seen a doctor has gone from 5% to 6.3% over the same period, according to data released Friday by the Department of Public Health of Georgia .

The state also reported that between February 2 and 9, one person died of flu-like illness and 1,108 people were hospitalized, compared with 947 the previous week.

The surge in infections is not surprising, according to Dr. Andi Shane of Children's Healthcare Atlanta, also associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University. Two influenza strains are responsible for fluctuations in the rate of infection depending on the time of year.

"Traditionally, we have seen a decrease in influenza A infections from early February to mid-February, and an increase in influenza B infections in the middle of February, from the end of March to the beginning of April. Dr. Shane wrote in an email. interview.

But she warned that the only predictable thing about the flu is that it's unpredictable.

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At the national level, the number of people seeking medical treatment for flu-like symptoms has increased from 4.3% to 4.8% for the week ending February 9, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the 2018-2019 influenza season, which began in October, continues to see an increase in the number of children dying of the virus. In its weekly flu bulletin released Friday, the CDC said that six more pediatric deaths had been reported to the agency for the week ending Feb. 9. This brings to 34 the total number of pediatric deaths nationwide for this influenza season.

Despite these numbers, this influenza season is not as deadly as that of 2017-2018.

A student at Kids R Kids Learning Academy is washing her hands after the December 18, 2018 snack.
ALYSSA POINTER / [email protected]

Children may be particularly susceptible to the virus.

"Influenza infections are more serious in people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or other respiratory and heart conditions," said Dr. Shane. "However, only one-third of the 24 children who had a flu-related death in the 2018-19 season had an underlying high-risk condition. This means that everyone, over the age of 6 months, in good health or suffering from an underlying condition, should protect themselves against influenza infections by receiving the appropriate number of doses of an influenza vaccine at his age. "

Shane said it was not too late to get the flu shot, especially since Georgia's influenza season runs until mid-April. Doctors and researchers say that even if a child gets the flu after being vaccinated, the vaccine can reduce the severity and duration of the infection.

Georgia's influenza rates remain among the highest in the country. However, the only southern state with a low level of influenza activity is Florida.

Why is it important?

Since the beginning of the influenza season in early October, 947 hospitalizations have occurred in the Atlanta metropolitan area due to flu symptoms. The severe flu season 2017-18 in Georgia did not decrease until the end of April. It has killed at least 154 people throughout the state and resulted in more than 3,000 hospitalizations in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Local health officials have described the most serious epidemic for decades.

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