The number of influenza-related deaths in Iowa now stands at 25 since October 2, 2016, including 11 deaths reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) during the week ending January 28, 2017. All but one of the individuals who have died had underlying conditions or contributing factors. Since October, deaths have been reported in the following regions of Iowa:
- Central (seven deaths)
- Northeast (four deaths)
- Northwest (two deaths)
- Southwest (eight deaths)
- Southeast (one death)
- Eastern (three deaths)
The deaths include 19 elderly (81+ years of age) and two older adults (61 to 80 years). “While it is never too late to get a flu vaccination, the time to get the most benefit from one is starting to dwindle,” said State Epidemiologist and IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “The flu vaccination takes a few days to reach its maximum protection level, so waiting too much longer will mean diminished protection during the peak of the season.” Another way to prevent influenza spread is to remember the 3 Cs – Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands; and Contain germs by staying home when ill, and especially for at least 24 hours after a fever stops.
Flu activity in Iowa (and most of the nation) is widespread, the highest category. Because influenza is not a ‘reportable’ disease in Iowa, doctors are not required to notify IDPH each time a case is diagnosed; however, IDPH conducts influenza surveillance that helps identify what strains of flu are circulating, how widespread illness is, and in what regions of the state illness is occurring. All four flu strains covered by this year’s vaccine have been reported in the state.
During cold weather, cases of norovirus, or the ‘stomach bug’, tend to increase. Norovirus is often mistakenly called ‘the flu’, but it is not related to influenza. Norovirus causes vomiting and diarrhea and is prevented through proper food handling, hand washing, and staying home when ill. There is no vaccine for noroviruses. Influenza, on the other hand, can be prevented or its severity diminished with the flu vaccine. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days, and often puts healthy people in bed for days.
2 thoughts on “Iowa reports more flu deaths”
I have read your article with a great deal of interest. There are many other articles across the country indicating the spread and intensity of the flu. Many people have died as a result of the flu. Most articles I’ve read emphasize the importance of getting a vaccine as a preventive measure. Once the flu is contracted, a vaccine is of no use. Those vaccinated can’t receive the full benefit of the vaccine until 2 weeks. Very few articles, however, speak of the medication available to treat the flu once it has been contracted. Statements like this are common:
“When we have spikes in flu activity like we’re having right now, it’s common that patients have difficulty finding Tamiflu,”
If you have ever been in the hospital and needed medication right away, you know the first thing that they do to you in stick an IV into you to give you your medication through a bag connected to the IV. An IV is the fastest way to get the medicine into you without it getting diluted through an IM injection or through your digestive tract when taking medication orally.
When the Swine flu epidemic was looming on the horizon, the government stockpiled the only injectable IV antiviral in the world, Peramivir (Trade name: RAPIVAB). It spent 22.5 million dollars for the stockpile of this medication. It hadn’t even been completely approved by the FDA yet but because of its very good track record in previous testing, was allowed to be used under the Emergency Use Authorization Rule. Since then, it received approval by the FDA in December of 2014. It is now available on the open market. The manufacturer of this medication is BioCryst in Alabama. The antiviral (PERAMIVIR) RAPIVAB is marketed by Seqirus-us.com. Their contact is:
I am writing this letter to you so that you can be aware that there is an excellent antiviral on the market that works against many different strains of the flu virus (it was initially developed to fight the bird flu) and is readily available. You can Google ‘Rapivab’ on the internet. Taking this medication soon after contracting the flu may help to save many lives, particularly those of the elderly.
If there are any questions I can help you with, you can contact me at [email protected]. Thank you for your consideration.