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Influenza Virus Epidemic of 2018-2019 – February 19 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 Middle Phases of the 2018-2019 Influenza Virus Epidemic

This epidemic has a bounce.  A few weeks ago, it appeared as though the epidemic might be abating, but it was not to be.  The presence of influenza virus across the country, and across Ohio has bounced up, it is still around, still widespread.  As of the latest report, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm#ILIMap, which typically lags 7-14 days behind any moment in time, makes the bounce very clear.

Even so, some early indicators may still hold up.  Only once the epidemic truly ends, almost always by the end of March or April, will we know for sure, but these trends continue to hold:

  • This season may turn out to a milder than usual epidemic, not quite as mild as once thought, but still mild.
  • We still have 1-2 more months of influenza virus epidemic across Ohio, and the US.
  • Very mercifully, the milder level of national influenza virus infections has dropped the number of children across the US who have died from this virus, at this point the number stands at 38, well below last year’s trend.  As noted in most posts, these numbers, as upsetting as they are, dramatize just how few of our 100 million children need fear actual death from these infections.

 

 

BOTTOM LINES

  1. The 2018-2019 influenza virus is here, it showed up right on time.  This winter’s epidemic remains in full swing, many people have the infection, but it may turn out to be a mildly epidemic with regard to severity.
  2. Influenza virus infections tend, overwhelmingly, to be not so dangerous to most healthy children.

 

Of course, we all hope this year’s epidemic is mild, and whatever the virus does, we are here to help.

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

 

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