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Published On: Fri, Dec 20th, 2013

Houston reports six H1N1 influenza deaths, Texas flu activity is ‘high’

The level of flu-like illness is classified as “high” in Texas, and medical providers are seeing an increase in flu in multiple parts of the state. In fact, the 2009  H1N1 “swine flu” is the most common circulating flu strain so far this season.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

In the Houston area health officials say there have been six confirmed deaths from H1N1, according to a KHOU report Thursday.

According to the City of Houston Bureau of Laboratories, the 2009 H1N1 strain accounts for nearly nine out of 10 positive samples tested.

“Flu is on the rise and causing severe illness in certain people. It is not unexpected this time of year, but it’s a good reminder for people to get vaccinated and stay home if they’re sick,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “Flu can be deadly. People who have not been vaccinated should do so now. It’s the best defense we have.”

DSHS advises clinicians to consider antiviral treatment, even if an initial rapid-flu test comes back negative. A negative result does not exclude a diagnosis of flu in a patient with suspected illness. Antiviral treatment is recommended for anyone with confirmed or suspected flu who is hospitalized, has severe or progressive illness or is at a higher risk for complications.

Flu is a serious disease that kills an average of 23,600 Americans a year, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People over 65, pregnant women, young children and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk for complications, so it’s especially important for them to be vaccinated.

The 2013-2014 flu shot provides protection against H1N1 and other strains of influenza.

The 2013-2014 trivalent influenza vaccine is made from the following three viruses:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A(H3N2) virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011;
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

The quadrivalent vaccine containing two influenza B viruses include the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

DSHS recommends everyone six months old and older get vaccinated. People should talk to their health care provider about the best type of flu vaccine for them. A nasal spray version is available for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant, and a high-dose vaccine is approved for people 65 and older.

 

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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