News / Health

    US Flu Outbreak Earlier, Spreading Faster

    US Flu Outbreak Earlier, Spreading Fasteri
    X
    January 11, 2013 4:45 PM
    The United States is in the grip of a widespread flu outbreak, with crises in Chicago and Boston. An estimated 36,000 people die of flu in the United States each year and it kills some 500,000 people annually around the world. VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports on what doctors say is an unusually early and busy flu season in the U.S.
    US Flu Outbreak Earlier, Spreading Faster
    Cindy Saine
    The United States is in the grip of a widespread flu outbreak, with crises in Chicago and Boston. An estimated  36,000 people die of flu in the United States each year and it kills some 500,000 people annually around the world.  Doctors say it is an unusually early and busy flu season in the U.S.
     
    Massachusetts is one of 41 U.S. states now reporting widespread cases of influenza. Tom Menino is the mayor of Boston, the state's biggest city.
     

    “I’m declaring a public health emergency in the city of Boston. The latest reports show an increasingly tough flu season," he said. 
     
    A hospital in eastern Pennsylvania set up a special tent outside the emergency room to deal with the wave of flu patients.
     
    Several hospitals in Chicago have had to turn patients away and send them to other hospitals in the area.
     
    Dr. Marc Siegel, of George Washington University Hospital in Washington, says seasonal influenza is an international phenomenon. It usually breaks out in the coldest season of the year.  
     
    "It generally moves through Eastern Europe, then to Western Europe and then kind of spreads westward to the United States. Now with international travel, we often see it spread everywhere much quicker," he said. 
     
    Dr. Siegel describes the typical symptoms of flu. "So influenza generally gives you a muscle ache, headache, high fevers. It can be associated with a sore throat, runny nose, cough, but any number of other viruses can give you similar symptoms that might not be quite as severe," he said.
     
    Influenza Pandemics of the 20th Century

    • 1918 Spanish Flu: Killed more than 500,000 people in the U.S., and 20 million to 50 million people worldwide.
    • 1957 Asian Flu: Killed roughly 70,000 people in the U.S.
    • 1968 Hong Kong Flu: First detected in Hong Kong, this virus caused roughly 34,000 deaths in the U.S.
    Doctors say if flu symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath, patients should see a doctor.  And they recommend a flu vaccination as the best protection against the illness.
     
    Doctors warn that small children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to serious complications from the flu.
     
    A six-year-old girl from Dallas died just hours after her grandparents took her to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms and she was seen and released.  
     
    Veleta Johnson is her grandmother. “They looked down her throat, checked her ears, vitals were all good, said she had the flu and told me what to do to make sure she felt better," she said. 
     
    Doctors say they do not know if this unusually early flu season has peaked yet, or if this year’s outbreak will get worse.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: NVO from: USA
    January 11, 2013 10:14 AM
    All you need is vitamin D. NOT some New World Order propaganda flu shot. It's a SHAM!! How many of you BLISSFULLY IGNORANT people will be corralled into a pharmacy to "get your flu shot". How many really know what the regime is pumping you up with? Beware of this and PROJECT ESCHELON!!!

    by: Geetha Mohan from: West Malaysia
    January 10, 2013 8:08 PM
    Firstly flu is due to lack of immune system. I am no doctor but taking spices in tablet form will help. Prolong use of cold drinks and wrong diet can lead to weakness of body. My advise take a general note of life style of people.
    In Response

    by: Makani from: Hawaii
    January 11, 2013 3:42 PM
    Calm down Meggie. Malaysia was simply giving advice not shoving it down your throat. Perhaps a little more layers of clothes are in order?
    In Response

    by: Meggie from: Boston
    January 11, 2013 9:00 AM
    Get over yourself you self righteous clod. I am very healthy normally and eat correct vegetarian meals with tons of supplements and I was still taken down by the flu. You don't have severe cold weather in Malaysia so you do not have that factor. When it is bitterly cold your body's resistance is compromised.
    In Response

    by: Sue Gee from: USA
    January 11, 2013 3:57 AM
    Which spices in tablet form do you recommend to strengthen immune system and prevent flu?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora