Seven more Georgians died from the flu, with a total of 12 deaths across the state this flu season, public health officials said Friday.
There were 40 hospitalizations in the Atlanta metropolitan area due to an influenza infection during the week of January .7 through January 13, said the state Department of Public Health. So far this season, the facilities in the area have received 404 hospitalizations due to the flu.
Some hospitals, which face a large influx of patients with the flu, have placed restrictions on visitors for the time being.
Dr. Van Baker, medical director of emergency services at Piedmont Newnan, said this week that a sudden increase in patients has caused the hospital to remain near, or in capacity, most days, the Newnan Times-Herald reported.
And doctors told wsbtv .com that recent snow days may cause another flu increase.
"We are seeing an increase of 50 percent each passing week," said Dr. James Yost of Peachtree Immediate Care in Cumming. He explained that when winter storms confine the majority of the public to their homes or shelters, "people crowd and spread more (from the flu)"
Dr. Ben Spitalnick, a pediatrician in Savannah, said his office is seeing a wave of children whose parents wish to have them vaccinated, or who wants the vaccine to work better this season, the AJC reported. "We are seeing much higher volumes, of children much sicker than we usually see," Spitalnick said.
Health experts acknowledge that the vaccine has not worked as well as we expected, and noted that the flu strain that affects the country is different from what vaccine manufacturers envisioned. But experts continue to urge people to get vaccinated if they have not.
The impact of influenza continues to be severe throughout the country. The geographical spread of influenza in Puerto Rico and 49 states (all but Hawaii) was reported as widespread, the CDC said.
Alabama declared a public health emergency after the large number of patients with the flu began taxing medical personnel.
Centers nationwide are responding with extraordinary measures, including requiring staff to work overtime, establish triage tents and cancel elective surgeries, Time reported.
"We are at capacity and the volume is certainly different from previous flu seasons," says Dr. Alfred Tallia, professor and president of family medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick, NJ, told Time. . "I've been in practice for 30 years, and it's been a good 15 or 20 years since I saw a flu-related disease scenario like the one we had this year."
Number of children who died from the flu is now up to 30.
Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, warned last week that this flu season was very active and "is probably peaking." Whether it has reached its peak, it remains intense. 19659002] Jernigan and CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald attribute the high activity of influenza to the prevalence of H3N2 flu.
H3N2 is associated with more serious diseases, especially among children and the elderly. The flu seasons during which H3 viruses prevail are usually worse and are accompanied by more hospitalizations and deaths.
Medscape reported that the combination of a severe flu season and a reduction in intravenous fluid bag supplies has hospital teams designing alternative strategies. Part of the shortage of IV bags is the result of the devastation of Hurricane Maria in manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico in September.
Tara Tehan, nursing director of the neuroscience intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Medscape Medical News that she has been a nurse for 17 years, and regarding the shortage of handbags, "never before I had experienced something like this "