An article released by CNN Health on February 3rd, 2017 states that the seasonal influenza has already spread to forty different states in the United States as well as Puerto Rico. Public health officials are encouraging people to still receive the flu vaccine as precautionary measures for this unprecedented outbreak. There have been approximately 12,000 cases of influenza and fifteen pediatric deaths reported by the CDC. Fifteen states including New Jersey, New York, Kansas, and Missouri have been experiencing higher than usual rates of influenza recently as students return back to their college campuses and public school systems. Dr. James Steinberg, who is the chief medical officer at Emory Hospital, highly recommends that people receive the vaccine and emphasizes that it is not too late because the flu season started later than usual.
The articles discusses the difference between the common cold and flu by highlighting symptomatic differences. Flu is characterized by more abrupt and severe symptoms including fever, chills, myalgia, and fatigue, and it can have fatal impacts on the pediatric, geriatric, and immunocompromised populations. The article discusses the difference between Influenza A and Influenza B. Influenza A possesses a higher probability of mutation than Influenza B; therefore, Influenza A has the potential to cause epidemics/pandemics, as demonstrated by the 2009 H1N1 outbreak. The article emphasizes that the best way to care for family members and loved ones is by receiving the vaccine because the vaccinated individual will be protect and prevent the transmission of the virus to immunocompromised, pediatric, or geriatric members of the family.
Check out the article here: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/03/health/flu-season-update/index.html
~Michelle Bach (Humans and Viruses 2016-2017)