Just one week later, the number of deaths more than doubled, soaring to 2,355 deaths.
In the 2014/2015 flu season, in which the H3N2 strain was also the leading strain, there were an estimated 35.6 million cases, 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths.
"In data of children who have died from the flu, a third of them have died before they could even get to a hospital", Campbell said. While flu shots reduce risk, they aren't always effective. It's imperative that people over 65, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions protect themselves against the flu.
The common belief is that flu is spread through coughs and sneezes from infected individuals and from touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Influenza is taking a growing toll of lives across Canada, health officials saying it's one of the worst flu seasons they've seen in years and are especially concerned about the risk to seniors.
Health officials said part of this season's heightened activity could be due to better testing and reporting systems, coupled with the fact that infections occurred earlier than last season. Plus, even if the vaccine doesn't prevent you from actually getting the flu, it can help prevent complications associated with the virus. Waiting rooms of contagious and noncontagious patients were full, she said.
For more information about influenza and where to get a flu shot visit Coconino.az.gov or on Twitter use the hashtag #fighttheflu. Former CDC Director Tom Frieden, who was at the CDC's helm during the 2013 government shutdown, told NPR on January 21 that the shutdown could mean less preparedness and slower response rates to flu complications across the country.
This year's flu vaccine is expected to be more effective against Type B, Department of State Health Services press officer Lara Anton said.
In the Pacific Northwest there haven't been any reported cases of dog flu this year, but veterinarian Dr. Eric Bucki, who practices in Florida, says it's good to get ahead of the virus by getting your pooch vaccinated. "The different strains that are around are not the same", he said.
Flu symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, body aches and nasal congestion. People younger than 19 who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy should also be cautious.
They estimate that the virus hasn't reached its peak yet, with the strongest strain a version of an "animal flu strain" which is estimated to be the next human threat.
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