Flu proving deadly even to the healthy
Tue, 14 Jan 2014 23:00:36 GMT —
Lucas County health officials are calling the flu virus, "severely active," this season.
"We're seeing increase numbers. We're seeing increased hospitalization. We're seeing increased deaths," says Lucas County Health Commissioner Dr. David Grossman.
There have been four confirmed deaths in Lucas County caused by the flu, but that number is likely higher.
Although most flu deaths happen to people with underlying health issues, the virus has affected the healthy too.
"It appears to be attacking people that you wouldn't think would be as vulnerable of dying of this disease. It appears to be attacking all age groups more across the board," Dr. Grossman said.
And since flu strains are always mutating and adapting, there is a fear of a strain that doctors have never seen.
"The concern is a flu that we don't have any protection for. These 'novel' flues that we worry about, pandemic flu epidemics," Dr. Grossman explained.
Dr. Grossman said there are already some strains that doctors know could be devastating.
"H5-N5 or an H5-N1 that we don't have a vaccine or protection for, and it can take off and invade and cause severe illness and death," Dr. Grossman said.
This flu season is not likely to get to that level here in Ohio, but doctors are seeing an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
"It's by no means a pandemic or anything, but it's obviously a severe flu season so far," Dr. Grossman said.
This year's flu vaccines covers three or four strains depending on the type. Doctors say they have seen H1N1 predominately, which is about 90 percent of the flu cases they have seen.
If you aren't sure about the flu shot, Dr. Grossman says, consider this, "We know that the flu vaccine isn't 100% effective. The other thing we know is, if you don't get it, it's 100% ineffective."
At least two of the deaths were people who had not been vaccinated. They were both killed by strains that are available in the vaccine.