But officials say you should still take precautions & get vaccinated.
Baltimore, Md (KM) It looks like the nasty flu season we’ve been experiencing is leveling off, according to the Maryland Department of Health.
Dr. Lucy Wilson, Chief of the Center for Surveillance, Infection Prevention and Outbreak Response, says visits to outpatient clinics and emergency rooms have declined, and there’s been a drop in hospital admission and outbreaks in schools and other locations. “We’re really hopeful that this is an indication that we have peaked and we’re moving on,” she says.
The Health Department says influenza activity in Maryland has gone form sporadic in October, to local and regional in November and early December, to widespread from mid-December to January and early February. The H3N2 strain of flu has been very nasty, health officials say. Early this month, Maryland reported its first pediatric death from influenza.
But it appears to be turning the corner, says Dr. Wilson, who notes that this leveling off is occurring all over Maryland. “We do monitor throughout the state, and we’re finding that it still is occurring in all parts of the state. So It’s not one section that decreasing. It’s all still occurring throughout the state, but overall, we’re seeing a leveling off,” she says.
However, Dr. Wilson says flu activity is still widespread, and citizens need to take precautions in order to avoid catching it; and that includes staying home from school or work if you’re sick, and getting a flu shot.
This year’s flu vaccine has proven, in some cases, not to be very effective. But Dr. Wilson says there’s some good news to report on that as well. “What we’re seeing now is a decrease in the amount of the strain that was less effective by the flu vaccine. And we’re seeing an increase in one that is prevented by the flu vaccine quite well,” she says. “So if you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, it’s still a good idea to get it and protect yourself, and to protect those people who are vulnerable to complications from influenza from getting the flu virus.”
By Kevin McManus