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Health Officials Predict Flu Season Could Last Until May

MAR 22, 2017 | EINAV KEET
In Texas, health officials are predicting that the state’s flu season may last longer than usual this year, with the potential to run into May. While overall flu activity has slightly decreased statewide, influenza activity in Texas is now regional while the intensity of influenza-like illness is high. The state has already reported two flu-related pediatric deaths so far this season, and a recent news report notes that Dallas County health officials have reported a total of 13 flu-related deaths since October 2nd. Flu season appears to have peaked in the state and may now be on the decline, however, in such a busy flu season that has been marked by severe illness, health experts say that new cases may continue to appear for several more weeks.

The flu shot this season has reduced a vaccinated individual’s risk of infection by about 48%, and now, a researcher from the University of Texas has invented a new tool that may further assist in the fight against the flu. Perena Gouma, PhD, has developed a breath monitor that can identify the flu in individuals infected with the virus; this could offer a way to detect the flu early, and thus, prevent transmission. After publishing a paper on her work in the journal Sensors, Dr. Gouma notes the potential of such a device. “I think that technology like this is going to revolutionize personalized diagnostics,” she said in a recent press release. “This will allow people to be proactive and catch illnesses early.”

Advancements such as this one adds to the arsenal of knowledge that researchers have against the flu, and hopefully, they can use this knowledge so that as the next flu season comes along, less individuals will fall ill.
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