Editorial: Spike in flu cases adds to vaccination urgency

The flu season usually peaks in February, but there has been a spike of cases already. It also appears to be hitting young people harder than normal.

Pediatric disease specialist Dr. Christopher Belcher of Carmel said, “You know, we’ve recognized for a long time that the elderly were at very high risk for hospitalization and death due to influenza. It turns out that the young children and the infants are at the same risk of hospitalization as the elderly are. So it’s important that both groups get (vaccinated), but it is important that everyone receives their influenza vaccine.”

Of considerable concern is the fact that the prevalent strain this season is H1N1, which is better known as swine flu. This is the same strain that caused the flu pandemic in 2009. During the 2009 pandemic the H1N1 virus led to 45 deaths and resulted in just under 18,000 infections.

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