Georgia Flu Epidemic Worsens


Catherine Lysaught, Staff Writer

This year has been a record year in terms of flu outbreaks in Georgia. According to 11alive, there are a reported 67 deaths in Georgia since January 1st as a result of the flu and that number is expected to increase exponentially.

The average flu season in Georgia begins in December, peaks in late February, and begins to decrease in May, but according to the Emory University Hospital, Georgia hospital admissions for the flu are already 40% higher than average and are expected to grow with numbers already higher than average, the worst has not yet hit.

So far in 2018, there have been more flu-related casualties than ever before in Georgia history; the 2018 flu season has surpassed the previous record of 38 casualties in the 2009-2010 flu season.

According to the CDC, the most prominent strain is Influenza Strain A, which spreads more easily through all populations and is more deadly. This virus also has a higher rate of mutation, so it can adapt and spread more efficiently through populations. The ability of the flu to mutate so efficiently has also made vaccines for Strain A useless as people can be infected by a different variation of the flu. The flu started spreading in November 2017 in various regions of the United States, around the time that people started traveling for the holidays.  as people traveled, they facilitated the spreading of the disease to previously unaffected areas.

As the flu continues to spread and more people are getting sick, the CDC recommends that all people keep up regular sanitary habits, avoid contact with infected people, and immediately visit a doctor or hospital when flu symptoms present themselves.