Indiana Health Officials Say Worst Flu Season in Nearly Half a Decade
So far, this year’s flu season has killed 40 people in Indiana – more casualties than the state has witnessed from the flu virus in nearly half a decade.
However, state health officials say it is still too early to determine if the spread of this wicked illness has reached its full capacity. In recent years, as many as 91 Hoosiers have died as a result of a single flu season. And with new strains of the virus getting stronger every year, health officials say that it is just a matter of time before casualties start increasing with each passing outbreak.
"What we really have to do is work very diligently to conduct surveillance,” says Pam Pontones of the Indiana state health department. We have “to monitor influenza activity and look for signs that the virus may be changing or if there is a particular virus that appears to dominate.”
This year, the H3N2 strain is wreaking havoc on people over the age of 65, especially those with underlying health issues like heart disease, diabetes, asthma and renal disease. Unfortunately, immunity to the flu virus drops significantly as people get older, according to medical experts. Of those who have died this year from the flu, 33 of them were over the age of 65 – most with other health problems.
Health officials say that if you are suffering from symptoms ranging from fever to body aches to vomiting and diarrhea, you are contagious – stay at home until you have been fever free for at least 24-hours.