Flu and Enterovirus 2014 - 2015
• Last year, our community experienced the death of a pregnant mother and her unborn child as a result of influenza A (H1N1).
• Los Angeles County confirmed 101 influenza-associated deaths last year, and 65 percent occurred among adults between 18-64 years old. Many of these individuals had high blood pressure, were overweight or obese, or were current or past smokers. Among Intensive Care Unit (ICU) hospitalizations, 15 percent had no other medical condition besides obesity.
• Beach Cities Health District advises residents to follow flu vaccination guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), which recommends everyone six months of age and older be vaccinated.
• Vaccinations are most important for at-risk populations, including those age 65 years of age and older, children younger than two years old and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, lung disease). Family members and individuals in close contact with infants under six months old should also be vaccinated against the flu – this creates a "cocoon" of protection.
• Remember: Healthy individuals can become infected with the flu without experiencing symptoms. These people are known as “carriers” and can infect others with the virus unintentionally.
• Remind your friends and relatives to get vaccinated by sending an “e-card” from the CDC website.
Influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been reported frequently in almost all states. During past seasons when influenza A (H3N2) viruses have predominated, higher overall and age-specific hospitalization rates and more mortality have been observed, especially among older people, very young children, and persons with certain chronic medical conditions compared with seasons during which influenza A (H1N1) or influenza B viruses have predominated, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Read more about influenza A.
To guard against influenza A, be sure to get vaccinated and follow flu prevention protocols.
A respiratory virus, known as Enterovirus EV-D68, has sent hundreds of children to hospitals across ten states so far this year (as of 9/8/14).
Enteroviruses are common and cause intense cold-and flu-type symptoms, with the peak season for the virus beginning in September. However, Enterovirus EV-D68 is uncommon and known for causing respiratory problems, among other symptoms like fever and rash. It is generally not considered a deadly virus, but it can cause serious complications in individuals suffering from chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Like most enteroviruses, this respiratory illness spreads through close contact with infected individuals. Children and older adults are most susceptible to contracting the virus. Vaccines are not available for EV-D68, but people can avoid contracting the virus using the other preventive flu tips below.
Visit cdc.gov for updates on EV-D68 and other illnesses.
Tips to Stop Spreading the Flu:
- Get vaccinated
- Wash your hands regularly
- Sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm
- Avoid touching your eyes, face and nose
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- When you’re sick, stay at home and limit contact with others
Trusted Public Health Resources:
Comprehensive government-wide information on seasonal, H1N1 (swine), H5N1 (bird) and pandemic influenza for the general public, health and emergency preparedness professionals, policy makers, government and business leaders, school systems, and local communities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
California Department of Public Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health