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Flu-like illnesses increased

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is reporting a significant uptick in reports of flu-like illnesses over those reported in November.
Steve Todd, health officer for the tri-county health department, said while the actual number of reported flu cases since the end of November has only grown from zero to 13 cases, the number of flu-like illnesses has more than tripled in the past six weeks, growing from 248 to 866.
Early in January, the Centers for Disease Control notified local public health departments that many of the cases of flu currently being identified are from Type A Influenza strain. Seasons that are dominated by this particular strain tend to result in more severe illness and mortality, especially for older people and young children, Todd noted
The CDC and the local health department continue to recommend vaccination because it may result in a less severe bout of flu while still offering protection against Type B strains and H1N1 strain.

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