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Alabama’s ‘abnormally high’ flu activity reaches levels not seen since 2008

Alabama’s ‘abnormally high’ flu activity reaches levels not seen since 2008


The Alabama Department of Public Health says it is seeing “abnormally high and severe” flu activity across Alabama, especially among children.

ADPH pediatrician and district medical officer Wes Stubblefield said it was the highest flu activity early in the season since the 2008 influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.

At the USA Health Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, flu cases increased from 51 in September to 745 in October, ADPH said.

In the first five days of November, the number of cases has risen to 138. Currently, more children are hospitalized for influenza than for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

A similar increase was seen at Children’s of Alabama, the department said.

Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham sees patients who need ventilators, some critically enough to require ECMO (cardiopulmonary bypass) support, says Children’s Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Research program director Michele Kong said.

As a result, state pediatricians are urging families to get vaccinated. Every year, an average of 150 children across the United States die from the flu. On Thursday, the CDC announced the first flu-related childhood death of the season.

Nola Ernest, an outpatient pediatrician at Enterprise and president of the Alabama chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said flu outpatient visits have increased more than 10-fold in the past two months.

“Young people aged 5 to 24 have the highest number of flu-like illness outpatient visits,” said Ernest.

Benjamin Estrada, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases at USA Health, says everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot. Families should also practice hand washing and mask wearing in crowded environments or when someone is sick at home.




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