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Kentucky Health Officials Report 100 Flu-Related Deaths

Weerayut Ranmai
123rf Stock Photo

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is reporting 100 flu-related deaths from the flu epidemic in the state.

Last year, Kentucky reported 76 deaths. Acting commissioner Jeffrey Howard said national hospitalizations are highest on record since the CDC began tracking the figures eight years ago. He said what's different about this flu season is that the H3N2 influenza genotype is particularly prevalent.

“In years where that genotype is prevalent the disease tends to be worse,” Howard said. “It tends to be a more severe inflammatory reaction. It’s not actually the flu itself sometimes, it’s our immune response to the flu. It tends to be more exaggerated to this genotype of the virus.”

Howard said he encourages everyone to take all the precautions necessary to protect themselves.

“The flu vaccine in any given year tends to be more effective for influenza type B than it is for influenza type A and later in the flu season we tend to see more influenza type B strains so getting the vaccine may still protect you,” Howard said.

It takes about two weeks after the administration of the vaccine for the recipient to develop protection from the flu. Kentucky is in its seventh week of widespread flu activity.The flu season runs through late May.


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