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Daily Court Reporter - News First two pediatric flu death reported in Ohio

 

First two pediatric flu death reported in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is reporting the state’s first two pediatric flu death of the 2017-18 flu season: a 4-year-old boy from Montgomery County and a 1-year-old boy from Lucas County. ODH also is reporting 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio during the first week of January, a significant increase over 925 reported during the last week of December. There have been 3,854 total flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio since flu season began last October.

The 2017-18 flu season in Ohio and nationally is looking similar to what was seen during the 2014-15 flu season which at the time was the most severe flu season in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC says that flu activity in the U.S. increased sharply during the first week of January, and is now categorized as widespread in 46 states. Flu activity traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May, with cases typically peaking between December and February.

“Flu is difficult to predict,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig. “It’s not possible to say precisely when this flu season will peak or end or how severe it will be. That’s why getting the flu vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu for everyone 6 months and older. Flu vaccination also can reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick.”

Flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and tens of thousands of flu-related hospitalizations each year. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, people who still get sick may have milder symptoms.

So far, influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been the most common flu viruses circulating this season, according to CDC. H3N2-predominant flu seasons have been associated with more severe illness, especially among children and adults age 65 and older. Vaccine effectiveness against H3N2 viruses has been around 30 percent. Vaccine effectiveness against other circulating flu viruses has been about 60 percent for H1N1 viruses, and around 50 percent for influenza B viruses. A study also done on flu vaccination said that it can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.

Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu vaccination is available at most healthcare providers’ offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies. There are no flu vaccine shortages across Ohio.

Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include: washing hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick.

CDC recommends that healthcare providers prescribe one of two antiviral drugs as a second line of defense as soon as possible to patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who are hospitalized, have severe illness, or may be at higher risk for flu complications.

“These antiviral medications can reduce the severity of the flu and prevent serious flu complications,” Koenig said. “They work best when started within two days of getting sick.”

More information about influenza and flu activity in Ohio is available at www.flu.ohio.gov.

About the Ohio Department of Health

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is a cabinet-level agency, meaning the director reports to the governor and serves as a member of the Executive Branch of Ohio’s government. The ODH executive team helps the Director of Health formulate the agency’s strategic policy goals and objectives. The team is composed of the Chief of Staff, the Medical Director and the General Counsel. These leaders, along with agency senior-level managers and supervisors, work in tandem to ensure the state health department is responsive to the needs of Ohio’s 11.5 million residents.

ODH’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans by preventing disease, promoting good health and assuring access to quality care.

We organize our agency (Organization Chart) according to our core public health responsibilities:

Prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases (Bureau of Infectious Diseases)

Provide direction, support and coordination in preventing, preparing for and responding to events that threaten the public’s health (Office of Health Preparedness)

Build strong communities to enable Ohioans of all ages and abilities live disease and injury-free (Bureau of Health Promotion and Office of Health Improvement and Wellness)

Address health inequities and disparities, and support access to comprehensive, integrated healthcare for all to achieve the best possible outcomes (Office of Health Policy and Performance Improvement)

Assess and monitor environmental factors that potentially impact public health including air, water, soil, food and physical and social features of our surroundings (Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection)

Assure quality in health care facilities, health care services, and environmental health through smart regulation to protect the health and safety of Ohioans (Office of Health Assurance and Licensing)

Date Published: January 22, 2018

 

Ohio Department of Health

 

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