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Influenza Virus Epidemic of 2018-2019 – April 9th Update

By Dr. Arthur Lavin

Readers of Real Answers with Dr. Arthur Lavin will remember that nearly every posting on the influenza virus reminds us that this is a virus that mysteriously appears every year around the same time, and just as strangely, disappears every year in an equally predictable manner.

The End of the 2018-2019 Influenza Virus Epidemic

It’s now finally letting go, as it always does sometime in April.  The seasonal influenza virus epidemic of 2018-2019 is just now ending.

As readers of Real Answers know, the influenza virus appears in the US every winter and leaves every spring.   It typically shows up in Ohio around late December, and vanishes nearly entirely by the end of April.

Every year, a real worry sets in as the influenza virus shows up and makes so many of us so sick with colds and respiratory flus (stomach flus are from other viruses).

Every year, the news reports, social media, the waves of colds and flus in the school whip up real worry, and so many of us wonder, was this a very bad year.

Usually not.

But every April, we can look back and see, how was the winter influenza virus epidemic.

Here is how we did last winter:

  • Overall, the epidemic was fairly mild.  That may be surprising given all the viruses we saw, and still see, this winter.  But keep in mind at most a third of all the winter viruses are from influenza.  It was here, it was here in force, but not nearly as much as some other winters.
  • In Ohio, the epidemic arrived in force around New Years, as it seems to do every year.  Then it had its sharpest peak around March, a little later than usual, but still cleared away easily by now, in April.
  • Our most feared event, the death of children from this virus, stands at 82 deaths so far for this epidemic.  That is less than last year’s peak of 186 such deaths, so much lower.

 

BOTTOM LINES

  1. The Influenza Virus Epidemic of 2018-2019 is over!  
  2. It was a very typical winter epidemic of influenza virus in its timing of arrival and clearing, but milder than most years, and a more active March than most years.
  3. The flu shot appears to be helping.

We are glad this was a mild year, over the summer we will likely forget all about these winter influenza virus epidemics, until next fall, when the worries will start all over again, let’s hope it is once again a mild year next winter, we will have the influenza vaccine available by October to do what we can to make it as mild as possible.

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

 

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