Ouch: an unhappy flu shot recipient. Ouch: an unhappy flu shot recipient.

Flu cases and deaths way up due to winter’s early arrival

Number of cases is up 400% but only because of a longer winter

Winter’s early arrival has caused a spike in the number of influenza cases and related deaths.

There are 1,938 cases on record so far this season, 143 of which led to complications and caused the death of the patient. Epidemiology specialists warned that the virus will be in circulation for at least three more weeks.

Influenza cases recorded during the 21017-2018 season totalled 861, and there were 25 deaths.

Federal health undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez said tat the increase this year can be explained by an early onset of the winter season, which started in the second half of September. It usually starts in October.

“This does not mean that [conditions] are worse or more risky . . . only that there’s more time for contagion when compared to data from the previous year,” he explained.

“The spike has been significant, with over 400% more cases and 270% more deaths . . . but we are not at epidemiological risk. The behavior [of influenza] has been normal so far [and current figures] are even below those registered in the 2017, 2016 and 2015 seasons,” he said.

While influenza is only uncomfortable for 95% of patients, the remaining 5% can present complications that could lead to death.

López-Gatell said that 21 million influenza vaccine shots have been administered this year to people most at risk, who are young children and seniors. The health system is prepared to administer 9.8 million more.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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