January 11, 2013
Aggressive Flu Virus Spreading Early This Winter
The United States currently has three emerging flu or flu-like epidemics, The New York Times reports. The annual flu season has had an early start with an aggressive virus. Influenza is widespread nationwide, but there are local crises. Boston has declared a public health emergency as flu cases have overwhelmed emergency rooms. The norovirus (a.k.a. “cruise ship flu” or “stomach flu”) also is spreading early. Classic symptoms of the norovirus include “explosive” diarrhea and “projectile” vomiting. The country also is experiencing the worst pertussis (a.k.a. “whooping cough”) outbreak in 60 years. Unrelated to flu, whooping cough does cause a hacking, constant cough and breathlessness. Combined with the normal winter levels of other viruses that cause “cold and flu” symptoms, more people than usual in the United States are sick this winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all persons older than six months should be vaccinated yearly against the flu, especially people who are immunosuppressed, which includes people with HIV/AIDS.
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