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Health agencies monitoring flu, restrictions in place

Steven Depolo

As the flu season ramps up, Greater Cincinnati hospitals say they have two special concerns:

  • The 2014-2015 flu vaccination may not offer the level of protection anticipated.
  • There are several outbreaks of pertussis  (whooping cough).

A Greater Cincinnati Health Council news release says many hospitals in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana are implementing limited visitation policies to minimize the spread of respiratory diseases to patients.
The restrictions include no visitation by anyone who is ill with any respiratory symptoms including coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever etc., and no visitation by anyone under age 14.

There my be exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

The extent of serious flu cases

The Centers for Disease Control says the most common strain this season is influenza A H3N2. The CDC website says, "There are often more severe flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths during seasons when these viruses predominate." For example, the 2012-2013, 2007-2008 and 2003-2004 seasons had the highest morbidity levels in the past decade and that was when A H3N2 was most prevalent.

The CDC also says half of the H3N2 viruses this year are "drift variants," meaning they have genetic changes making them different from the season's vaccine.

Tri-State deaths

The Indiana State Department of Health says a 65 year old died Monday from the flu virus. And in Ohio, the Lucas County Health Department, reports another person died from what is believed to be the flu virus in November.