OR child dies of flu-related illness: health officials

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The influenza B virus, a strain that more commonly affects children and young adults, is showing up earlier in the season than usual. Among the tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 54% were A and 46% were B. The most recent weekly flu report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds high levels of flu-like illness in 19 states, including most southern states.

Reductions in influenza cases generally produce lower healthcare costs, fewer flu-related fatalities and a healthier, more productive community.

A (H1N1) viruses are the next most common and are increasing in proportion relative to other influenza viruses in some regions.

The flu season got off to an early start in the Deep South.

The youngest is a three-month-old baby boy in northern Taiwan, who has developed encephalitis and is now hospitalized, Lo said. The state of Texas has reported about 32 percent (6) of the pediatric fatalities.

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"I've been following influenza for about 10 years as an infectious disease physician and I haven't seen a season yet where Influenza B has predominant - so this is a first for us, at least in the last 10 years I've looked back at", said Dr. Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza. The good news is that flu can be prevented.

However during this winter the CDC has said that there is a chance of 40% that the flu is going to reach its peak in the month of December on the basis of the activity thus far.

"Sadly, flu strains now in circulation this season have hit the young very hard", said Nigel Turner, division director for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

The flu shot's average effectiveness is between 40% and 60%.

Since any vaccine can cause a side effect, vaccination decisions should be part of an ongoing discussion between a provider and patient, says the CDC.

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