flu

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s already proving to be an intense flu season at many Michigan hospitals.

“It’s been a very heavy season so far. We’ve had about four times the normal number of flu cases as we had at this time in previous years,” says Dr. Matthew Sims, director of infectious disease research at Beaumont hospitals.

Other hospitals in the region are reporting a similar spike.


 

One of the books making many of the best books of 2014 lists was set largely in Michigan. But a book about life in Michigan after a pandemic might not be what you want to read when you are sick.

 

I found this book when I was Up North on a rainy weekend with only 100 pages left in the last book on my reading list.

 

Luckily, Petoskey has a real bookstore.

"Can I help you?" asked the guy working at McLean and Eakin.

"I don't know what to read next."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan hospitals may have to plan on receiving more flu patients this year.

Centers for Disease Control officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain (H3N2) seen most commonly so far this year.

3D model of a flu virus.
CDC

OKEMOS, Mich. (AP) - Health officials are encouraging Michigan residents to get flu vaccinations as the state says it confirmed its first influenza cases of the 2014-2015 season.

The Michigan Department of Community Health announced Thursday that it recently confirmed three cases of influenza in adults, the first of the season identified by a state laboratory. One case is H1N1, one is H3N2 and one is an influenza B virus.

The announcement came as the department, the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the Michigan State Medical Society worked to promote vaccinations.

The peak of seasonal flu typically comes between January and April. Officials warn influenza is potentially life-threatening, especially for infants and the elderly. During the 2013-2014 flu season, officials say there were three influenza-associated deaths of children in the state.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thirteen Michigan colleges and universities are trying to get more students to get flu shots this fall.

Angela Minicuci with the Michigan Department of Community Health says college-age students tend to have extremely low influenza vaccination rates.  

Only about 10% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 got a flu shot last year.

by samantha celera

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Flu hospitalizations in Michigan are way up this season because of the spread of the more serious H1N1 strain of the disease.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says the good news is this year's flu vaccine targets the H1N1 strain, making it highly effective in preventing the disease.

The department says labs confirm 169 Michigan cases this season, compared with 338 a year earlier.

But department spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says there are 190 reported hospitalizations so far this season, up from 115 a year earlier. New numbers come out Friday.

The state doesn't track adult flu deaths. There's been one juvenile death this season.

Minicuci says officials hope people take the virulence of this season's outbreak as a warning to get vaccinated.

There are 2,5000 dams in Michigan and more than 90% are going to hit or exceed their design life by 2020. On today's show: How concerned should we be about our aging dams, and is there the money and political will to fix them? Then, the state's chief medical doctor explains why this year's flu season seems to be a particularly rough one.  And, one man from Ann Arbor is working to earn respect for dads all over America with the Dad 2.0 Summit. Also, the Detroit Zoo is not just a tourist attraction, it's a leader in animal conservation and preservation. 

First on the show, the data and numbers crunchers have been working away, trying to peer into the future to figure out what lies ahead for Michigan over the next 10 years in terms of jobs and pay.

The verdict: Michigan's economic axis is tilting west. Rick Haglund's recent story for Bridge Magazine is headlined: "Future job growth favors West Michigan." 

And Don Grimes is with the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy at the University of Michigan.

They join us today to discuss the issue.

Wikimedia

It's starting to make its presence felt in empty chairs at the workplace and sad little Facebook status updates saying, "I'm sick."

Flu season is upon us.

Federal officials report 35 states are now experiencing widespread influenza activity with young and middle-aged adults being hit hardest this year rather than the usual pattern of seniors or children.

Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of  Community Health and a professor at the University of Michigan, joined us today to give us an idea of what the flu season looks like in Michigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

by samantha celera

About a dozen flu patients have been in intensive care at  University of Michigan hospitals on any given day since the new year began. Some are on advanced life support. Most are middle-aged.  And most have the H1N1 strain of flu.

Michigan has seen a flood of H1N1 flu cases in the last few weeks.

That's according to Dr. Matthew Davis,  Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

midiman / Creative Commons

An increase of cases of the flu in Michigan is prompting some hospitals to limit who can visit sick patients. They hope it’ll help prevent the spread of the flu.

University of Michigan’s hospitals aren’t letting kids younger than 12 visit the most vulnerable patients.

At Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, there are similar restrictions, along with the number of visitors, or in some units, only immediate family members.

Dr. David Davenport is the medical director of  infection prevention and control at Borgess.

Douglas Jordan, M.A. / Centers for Disease Control

The same flu strain that caused the 2009 flu pandemic is back again this year.

Angela Minicuci  is a spokesperson for the state Department of Community Health.

She says everyone should be protected from H1N1, not just those considered high-risk, like the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses.

(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)

State health officials say Michigan has recorded its first human case this year of a potentially serious pig-borne flu virus.

The child who fell ill with H3N2 is recovering.   The child was showing swine at the Berrien County Youth Fair earlier this month.

H3N2 is carried by swine.    When a person catches this flu bug, it’s like any other form of influenza.   The infected person can develop a fever, runny nose or cough.  Also like the regular flu, the symptoms can become serious.

Robert Couse-Baker / Creative Commons

Maybe people are washing their hands and staying home when they’re sick. Maybe they’re not even going to the doctor’s office; toughing it out at home on the couch instead.

We don’t know why exactly, but the number of confirmed flu cases in Kent County this week dropped 43-percent from the week before. The number of people visiting the emergency room with flu-like symptoms has also decreased.

Statewide numbers are less dramatic, but also down from a peak in December.

Still...

“If you haven’t gotten a vaccination yet, get it,” Lisa LaPlant, a Kent County Health Department spokeswoman said. “There is a possibility that we could see resurgence of flu,” she adds.

Michigan flu cases on the rise, state confirms third child death

Jan 3, 2013
Michigan Department of Community Health

Flu cases in Michigan continue to rise as the Department of Community Health (MDCH) confirmed last week that a third child and at least two adults have died from the illness.

According to the state’s most recent Influenza Surveillance Update, there have been 252 confirmed cases of the flu for the 2012-13 season (starting Sept. 30, 2012).

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Health officials say two children have died from the flu in Michigan as statewide influenza cases rise.

Angela Minicuci, public information officer for the Michigan Department of Community Health, says an infant from southwest Michigan and an adolescent from central Michigan were reported last week to the state. No further information was available.

As of Dec. 20, 149 confirmed cases of the flu were reported in Michigan, up from 63 the previous week.

ronnieb / MorgueFile

Michigan health officials say the flu has arrived in Michigan, and it's much earlier than usual. 

The flu doesn't usually get a grip until January or February. But more than 30 cases have been reported so far in the state.

Angela Minicucci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says it could be a nasty flu season, and with holiday family gatherings coming up, it's a good idea to get a flu shot now.

Weekly influenza activity across the U.S. and its territories. Michigan is listed as "sporadic."
CDC

Flu season is officially underway.

Michigan Department of Community Health officials said today that 12 influenza cases are the first seasonal flu reports they have confirmed in Michigan during the 2012-2013 season.

They  said the illnesses occurred in children and adults in lower Michigan.

Two people were hospitalized. Nine cases have been confirmed as influenza B viruses, two as influenza A (H3N2) virus and one as influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus.

Officials say it's too early to tell what influenza viruses will circulate this influenza season or how severe it might be.

Officials recommend flu shots as a way to prevent the disease.

Michigan's flu activity is listed as "sporadic," the lowest of four levels of influenza activity.

Several years ago I interviewed Peter Palese, a microbiologist and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

They were researching why the flu virus spreads in cold weather.

They found that once the flu virus is airborne, it survives longer in cold air and low humidity. It doesn't survive as long in higher temperatures and higher humidity.

Palese said age old maternal advice held up in their research:

They tested guinea pigs infected with the flu virus - and found that the animals are more contagious when they're in a colder environment. They believe that's because their bodies don't get rid of the virus as fast in cold temperatures...

"So that makes sense when your grandmother told you 'don't go out when it's cold, and stay warm and you might get the flu,' she was probably right," said Palese.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Michigan health officials say it’s time to get your flu shot.   And they want your children vaccinated too.   

You might think flu season is still months away.   But you’d be wrong.  State health officials say there have already been two confirmed influenza cases in Michigan this year.  

"Both of those cases did match the components that were in the vaccine for this year," says Dean Sienko, the interim Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Human Services.   

Michigan is among more than 2 dozen states reporting widespread influenza outbreaks.

Flu outbreaks have been reported in most regions of Michigan. Nursing home patients, college students and other groups of people living in close quarters have fallen ill with the flu. State health officials report one child has died from the flu.

Still, James McCurtis, a spokesman for the state Department of Community Health, says this has been a relatively mild flu season:

"Its very typical. Its nowhere near when we had the (Swine Flu) pandemic with H1N1 last year and two years ago."

McCurtis says the flu season still has about 3 months to go. Which means there is still time to catch the flu, and there’s still time to get a flu shot.