Statewide, 10,785 people have been hospitalized for the flu this season, including 715 in Montgomery County and 232 in Clark County, where flu-related deaths have been reported.
Local influenza-associated hospitalizations
With more than two months left in this flu season,
the number of area people hospitalized
already surpasses the previous season.
|County||2016-2017 season*||2017-2018 season**|
|Total|| 1,316 ||1,848|
*Oct. 2, 2016-May 20, 2017
**Oct. 1, 2017-Feb. 10, 2018
Source: Ohio Department of Health
One bit of good news: the new data show hospitalizations declined for the fourth week in a row ending Feb. 10, according to ODH. In Montgomery, hospitalizations were down almost 54 percent compared to about 19 percent statewide.
“As we get later in the season, historically we do tend to see lower hospitalization numbers, and that’s something we hope will continue through the rest of the flu season,” said Dan Suffoletto, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County spokesman.
But nationwide, the flu had its deadliest week among the vulnerable young.
The illness took 22 children’s lives during the week, or more than a quarter of the 84 flu-related pediatric deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to state health officials, three children from Ohio have died from the flu this season, including 4-year-old Jonah Rieben of Clayton, who died Jan. 6.
Among reported pediatric flu deaths this season, only 26 percent of children eligible for vaccination had been before they got sick, according to the CDC.
Every state but Hawaii and Oregon again reported widespread flu activity. Forty-three states, including Ohio, continue to report high influenza-like illnesses. The overall hospitalization rate is higher than during the same week of the 2014-2015 season, another known for its severity.
Also on Friday, the CDC released a report estimating the season’s flu vaccine at 36 percent effective against both A and B strains. The data were drawn from 4,562 children and adults with acute respiratory illness at five study sites between Nov. 2, 2017 and Feb. 3.
Three flu-related deaths have been confirmed in Clark County by the Clark County Combined Health District.
“One of the main points that the public needs to understand is that when they are ill, they need to stay home and they need to stay home and not return to work or school for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks, and in many cases, an extra day or two is not a bad idea,” said Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson. “It is important not only for their own good but that they don’t pass this on to others.”
Flu activity is likely to remain elevated for several more weeks, according to the CDC.