Health Officials Bracing For Tough Flu Season

Sep 17, 2018
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Public health officials in Kentucky are preparing for what they expect to be a difficult flu season. 

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What has been a very significant and, in some cases, deadly flu season appears to be winding down across the Commonwealth. State Epidemiologist Dr. Jonathan Ballard said data at the end of March showed 251 flu associated death including four pediatric deaths.

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

The current flu season is still getting worse, federal health officials said Friday. And it continues to take a toll on children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional 16 flu deaths among children, bringing the nationwide total this season for youngsters to 53.

Marian Smith somehow missed getting a flu shot this year, which is unlike her — in the past, she always got one.

The 58-year-old Washington D.C. resident says it was easier to remember to get it when the vaccine was provided at a clinic at work. But now the clinic is a bus ride away, and getting the shot wasn't at the top of her mind.

"Of course, I could get it right here at the grocery store," Smith tells NPR, as she rushes to pick up her lunch. "But I just didn't get it — I don't know, I can't tell you why."


  State health officials are now describing flu activity across Kentucky as an epidemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has postponed a planned Tuesday session on nuclear attack preparedness, deciding instead to focus the workshop on influenza.

The agency announced the switch in topics late Friday, citing the spike in flu cases as the reason for the pivot.


  Kentucky health officials are reporting the state's first pediatric flu deaths.

Aja C. Holmes planned to go to work last week, but her flu symptoms — a cough, fever and severe body aches that worsened overnight — had other ideas.

"It felt like somebody took a bat and beat my body up and down," said Holmes, 39, who works as a residential life director at California State University, Sacramento. "I couldn't get out of bed."

The nation is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad flu season.

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Tennessee health officials say three children have died from the flu.