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Flu ‘collection rate’ across US as health officials prepare for potential rough season

 




CNN

Health officials in the United States have become increasingly concerned about this year’s flu season and are already seeing signs that the virus is spreading.

As the 2022-2023 flu season kicks off, one high school in California is facing “massive absenteeism” due to possible flu. Influenza activity in the United States It often starts increasing in October and usually peaks between December and February.

Samer Nagy, a spokesperson for the San Diego Unified School District, said in an email to CNN on Thursday, “We can confirm that Henry High School has a large number of absentees due to possible flu. About 1,000 out of 2,600 students were absent.

“So far, COVID tests have been negative, but some students have tested positive for the flu,” Nagy said. “Typical signs and symptoms include coughing, sore throat, These include a runny nose, fever, and other symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection.We are in close contact with San Diego County Public Health.”

The San Diego County Public Health Department said Wednesday, Outbreak investigation With respiratory and flu-like symptoms among students at Patrick Henry High School, it is “too early” to determine the cause of the outbreak, and the county warns that similar outbreaks may occur at other schools. He added that he was evaluating

“We’re coordinating with the local school district and investigating with other school campuses to see why so many students were suddenly affected,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s deputy public health officer. I am trying to elucidate the

“Unfortunately, we expect this to be a tough flu season, and alongside COVID-19, other respiratory viruses are making a rapid comeback,” Kaiser said. “If you have not yet been vaccinated against flu or COVID-19, now is the time to get vaccinated for additional protection from the vaccine.”

While it can be difficult to predict what flu activity will look like in any given year, doctors are preparing for a “very important” flu season, says the infectious disease division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. William Schaffner, professor and medical director of of the National Infectious Diseases Foundation.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have a very big flu season this year, very different from the last two seasons,” he said.

This summer saw the first signs of increased influenza activity in the Southern Hemisphere. As more people in the northern hemisphere relax COVID-19 restrictions and return to socializing in large groups without wearing masks, cases of influenza have been reported. It is unusual for so many cases to spread so early in the flu season.

“It’s mid-October, not mid-November. We already have flu cases scattered across the country, and some hospitalized.” Track flu cases in hospitals.

“So we know this virus is already spreading in the community. It’s already accelerating. It looks like it’s about a month early,” Schaffner said.

In early 2020, the flu nearly disappeared in the United States when people started quarantining, social distancing, and masking to slow the spread of Covid-19. As a result, most people have not been exposed to influenza for several years and may have reduced immunity to the influenza virus, underscoring the need for vaccination.

U.S. health officials are encouraging people to get their flu shots as soon as possible, said Adriane Casalotti, director of government and public affairs for the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

“There is definitely a movement right now to push flu vaccination to the top of people’s priority list. We are all worried to see what is happening in the

Officials are concerned because Covid-19 and other common respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, could surge this winter. is increasing.

Casarotti said a flu epidemic could have a significant impact on communities, especially since flu symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from those of Covid-19, the common cold, or allergies. said.

“Some areas are already starting to see flu epidemics,” Casarotti said. “Overall, influenza activity is low nationwide, but is beginning to increase, particularly in the Southeast.”

In August, amid growing concerns about the upcoming flu season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Advisory Board issued the following statement: Reports update to seasonal flu vaccination recommendations for this year.

Older adults typically receive higher doses of influenza vaccine than younger adults, but in the latest update, ACIP recommends that adults 65 years and older should “prioritize” high-dose or adjuvant influenza vaccines. I’m here.

“There are three flu vaccines that have been shown to be more effective in people over the age of 65,” said ACIP contact person Schaffner. There is another vaccine that contains, and the third is a recombinant vaccine.” recombinant influenza vaccine Influenza viruses and chicken eggs are not involved in the manufacturing process.

“If you look back at people over 65 from the previous season, 80% had already received one of these three vaccines,” he said. “What is new this year is that the ACIP has made a clear priority recommendation. , says it will only use the regular vaccine if one is not available.”

Overall, the CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone over the age of 6 months, especially those who may be pregnant.

“There are additional benefits,” he said. “So some of the antibodies made in response to the vaccine cross the placenta and into the newborn baby. You can receive it.

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