flu

Another case of avian flu has been confirmed in birds in Washington state -- this time in a backyard flock in Port Angeles.

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The flu season has been more severe than expected, with 42 deaths in Washington state so far.

The main virus that’s circulating in the community, known as H3N2, causes more illnesses and deaths, especially among young kids and the elderly.

After discoveries of avian flu in Washington state and Oregon, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state officials are testing flocks near the latest outbreaks in southeast Washington.

After several Northwest backyard flocks turned up with avian flu, U.S. egg and poultry exports are being banned around the world - in South Korea, South Africa and the European Union so far.

Two strains of highly contagious avian flu have been found in Washington and Oregon so far.

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The flu season is ramping up and it has turned deadly in Washington state.

According to the State Health Department Wednesday, influenza has claimed at least seven lives in Washington so far this season. Two deaths last week and five this week were confirmed in lab tests.

Donn Moyer, a spokesman for the department, said despite the news that this season's flu vaccine is less effective against mutations of the current strain, people should still get the shot if they can.

Marcie Sillman talks with registered nurse Heather Barr about a King County initiative to provide flu shots to homeless people.  Barr is a nurse with King County's Healthcare for the Homeless Network.

health flu shot
Flickr Photo/Government of Alberta (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Dr. Jeffrey Duchin about why this year's flu vaccine may be not very effective against the most common flu strain. Duchin is chief of epidemiology for Public Health - Seattle & King County.

The symptoms of the flu are familiar: fever, chills, cough, congestion, feeling very, very tired. If you're a healthy adult under 65, you'll most likely recover in a week or two.

But for those older than 65, things can get worse fast, says Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.

Brace yourselves: Flu season is coming. And along with the coughing, fevers and aches, you can expect a lot of unreliable or downright wrong information about the flu vaccine.

Many people underestimate the health risks from flu. Thousands of Americans die from flu-related complications in a typical year, and last season's H1N1 strain hit young adults particularly hard.

This year's flu season is hitting younger and middle-aged adults unusually hard, federal health officials say.

More than 60 percent of flu patients who ended up in the hospital this year have been between the ages of 18 and 64. The proportion of young people among the hospitalized is much higher than usual, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only about 35 percent of flu patients who were hospitalized in the previous three years fell into that age group, the CDC says.

Feeling Sick? Flu Season Is In Full Swing

Jan 6, 2014
Flickr Photo/cassie_jean

Marcie Sillman hears from Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, chief of communicable disease epidemiology and immunization for Public Health in Seattle and King County, about this year's flu season.

The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Washington, Oregon and Idaho are among 25 states now facing widespread cases of the flu.

Flickr Photo/Diane Cordell

Producer Andy Hurst talked with Dr. Paul Kassab, primary care physician at Virginia Mason Medical Center, about the arrival of influenza season and flu prevention.

President Obama has nominated REI executive Sally Jewell for Secretary of the Interior.  What should she focus on if she is confirmed?  How should she manage the vast public lands that would be in her portfolio? We talk with local experts and conservationists. Join the discussion by emailing weekday@kuow.org.

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