Pet owners warned of uptick in dog flu cases

Pet owners warned of uptick in dog flu cases

The flu, which can have deadly complications, is widespread in all states but Hawaii, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Widespread influenza activity has been reported in 49 states, including MI.

Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email that "this level of influenza activity is being seen earlier than previous year (2016-2017 season)".

Medical Center Barbour's ER and also MCB clinics have seen a significant surge of patients with the flu, said Stephanie Ryan Cox, Director of Marketing for MCB, but it hasn't impacted their ability to treat patients.

At the moment, the time issue is tolerated because seasonal flu often hits the southern hemisphere first allowing time to develop a suitable vaccine before it travels north.

The flu generally kills a few dozen people in Colorado each year.

"We're seeing patients that are already sick getting Tamiflu, and we're seeing others get Tamiflu from their physician who've been exposed to the flu".

Dr. Tawney said people sometimes under-estimate how serious the flu can be.

The disparity in death rates might be surprising for those who recall there was initially no vaccination available for the dominant flu strain in 2009, H1N1, which allowed it to spread unchecked from coast to coast.

A dozen years ago or so, government officials placed pandemic influenza preparedness efforts on the front burner because of fears that a risky bird flu strain - spreading quickly across Asia at the time - might trigger a catastrophic pandemic. Influenza B has been circulating at lower but steady levels all season and has been detected more frequently in recent weeks.

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But based on past years when that strain has been the major source of misery, the season is likely peaking now and activity will start to fall, he said.

She said only eight patients have been admitted for treatment of complications from the flu, including three with pneumonia, three with bronchitis and two with no respiratory illness.

The county health department is still encouraging people to get the vaccine, because while it isn't preventing as much sickness as past year, it is still helpful.

Last, but not least, the virus can mutate both in the population as it circulates and the virus that was used to make the vaccine can also have mutations occur during the process.

KM: Not necessarily. This strain is fairly similar to what we saw a year ago, and certainly we've had very severe H3 seasons.

"Certainly there is the thought that you don't want to suppress a cough too much or dry out your nasal passages because you want to get rid of the infection", said Dr. Tara Vijayan, "There's a balance for sure".

Dr. Harkins says covering your mouth when you cough with the inner-side of your elbow and washing your hands are good ways to prevent spreading the virus.

KM: I would say we're probably in peak activity right now. But that doesn't mean that's the only thing we'll see.

Anyone can receive a flu shot or the nasal spray by visiting a the Fort Bend County Health Department, located at 4520 Reading Road in Rosenberg.