Flu: New York declares medical emergency
In New York, a medical emergency was declared due to a violent wave of flu. After more than 19,000 people in New York State contracted a flu infection, Governor Andrew Cuomo was forced to take this drastic step. Increased flu diseases are also currently being reported in most other US states. "24 states and New York City are experiencing high levels of flu activity," according to the United States Health Agency's "Centers of Disease Control and Prevention" (CDC).
This year's flu wave hit many US states particularly hard. Tens of thousands of people are ill and 20 child deaths have already been reported, writes The Times. According to media reports, the clinics in some regions are heavily overloaded due to the large number of flu infections and emergency beds had to be set up. In addition to New York, the authorities in Boston (Massachusetts) declared a health emergency. In New York, the number of infections this flu season with almost 20,000 reported diseases was almost five times higher than in the same period last year.
Vaccination to protect against flu Given the significant increase in flu activity, Governor Cuomo has again stressed the importance of flu vaccinations to prevent such epidemics. The CDC health authority also asked the population to be vaccinated against flu. In particular, people "who are at high risk of severe flu complications such as infants, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases (such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung diseases) and people over the age of 65" should protect themselves with vaccination, according to the CDC.
Skepticism about flu vaccinations But people's skepticism about flu vaccinations is still great today. Although around 40 percent of US citizens are vaccinated annually, the majority decide against this step. There is also the question of what purpose vaccination should still have at this late point in the flu season, since it takes around two weeks to build up adequate vaccination protection, but the CDC is already talking about the fact that the climax of this year's flu wave may already be survived.
Avoiding the spread of infections In order to prevent the further spread of the flu infection, the health authorities primarily rely on information in addition to the vaccinations. The population should learn to protect themselves as efficiently as possible and to minimize the risk to others in the event of their own illness. The CDC lists simple measures such as regular hand washing, distance from sick people and avoiding contact with other people in the event of their own illness.
High flu activity in several states To what extent the proclamation of a medical emergency in New York will help to stop the spread of the flu remains to be seen, but at least the population is now sensitized to the issue. In the state of New York, all 57 districts and all districts of New York City are struggling with increased flu infections, whereby according to media reports, the neighborhoods Chelsea in Manhattan and Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn are particularly badly affected. The extent of the flu wave in New York is particularly dramatic, but according to the CDC, this year's flu wave has also reached a serious level in other states such as Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee or Texas. Moderate flu activity has been reported from sixteen states such as Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio or Washington. For example, California has minimal flu activity.
40,000 flu deaths per year According to the CDC, a large part of this year's flu infection was caused by flu viruses of the H3N2 type or a corresponding subtype (76 percent). The rest of the flu cases were largely caused by influenza B viruses. Infections with the "swine flu" pathogen H1N1 were also occasionally detected. The estimated 40,000 annual deaths in the United States illustrate the real risk of flu. The proclamation of the medical emergency in New York was therefore made for a good reason. (fp)
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