First pediatric flu death reported in Ohio

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The latest statewide figures released Friday by the Arizona Department of Health Services said 7,978 cases of flu were reported so far this flu season, compared with 834 during the same period a year earlier, an 857 percent increase.

But, the CDC has already reported 13 pediatric deaths in the United States from the illness can cut across all ages.

According to the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, the child was 18-months-old.

ODH also is reporting 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January, a significant increase over 925 reported during the last week of December. In fact, different years bring different strains of flu, and the numbers of cases, complications, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the flu vary from year to year. As of the end of December 2017, 304 people were reportedly sick with the flu.

The number of flu cases is continuing to rise across Canada, suggesting the peak of infections with one of the dominant circulating strains could come within a few weeks - or even sooner, say infectious diseases experts, who describe this influenza season as "unusual".

Canada's flu shot contains the same vaccine components as that used by Australia during the Southern Hemisphere's flu season that ended in August, which was found to have only 10 per cent effectiveness in preventing H3N2.

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"All four strains are circulating to some level, but the majority (of cases) are the strain we know causes more severe influenza seasons", Baber said.

Antiviral medications can shorten the course of the flu and reduce its severity.

Officials from Collin County, Denton County, and Tarrant County all say parents should vaccinate their children, especially now that kids are back in school.

Carolyn Kaltenberg said flu symptoms can appear similar to the common cold, but they are differentiated by a running temperature, body aches and fatigue. Flu vaccination is available at most healthcare providers' offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies.

The flu vaccine may not be very effective.

"Flu is hard to predict", said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig, in a statement. "They work best when started within two days of getting sick".