The flu strain H3 has claimed lives of three children in Minnesota, signaling this season’s dominant flu strains can prove to be more dangerous to the people, especially high risk group, if precautionary measures are not followed immediately.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health departments and experts have cautioned the public to remain extra vigilant and follow the prescribed precautionary measures. Besides, the CDC has also warned healthcare providers of the worse effects of the flu strains that could happen in case of the negligence.
Patsy Stinchfield, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, said, ” Presently, we have nearly seven children in our intensive care unit (ICU) who are receiving treatment for complications linked with H3 flu virus. We might even set a record for the number of cases treated in December.”
Cautioning about the health effects of the H3 flu strain, the medical experts said that the flu virus can travel through the patients’ bloodstream and lead to the infection in brain. This could result into serious diseases, like meningitis, which may turn fatal in some cases.
The virus can also cause an overreaction by the immune system while infecting the lungs and cause potentially fatal complications. In such a scenario, the chest would be flooded with white blood cells (WBCs).
This year’s strain isn’t entirely new, H3 strains emerge every few years; they have proven particularly dangerous for children and the elderly in the past.
Karen Martin, a state health epidemiologist, said, “The dominant strain appears to be H3, which resulted into more hospitalizations, more deaths and more disease in earlier seasons.”
Health officials are encouraging everyone, especially the high risk groups including children, pregnant women and elderly people, to get a flu shot and visit their doctors in case the flu-symptoms start appearing.