UHC doctor warns of second wave of flu

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Health officials in Harrison County warn that while the most dominant strain of flu has been H3N2, Influenza B is on the rise.

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"You tend to see a second wave after the initial wave of flu, which was Type A," Dr. Mark Povroznik, chief quality officer at UHC, explained. "So right behind it will come Type B."

H3N2 is a strain of Influenza B, and believed to be the virus responsible for most of the hospitalizations and deaths across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, widespread flu activity has been reported in 49 states and Puerto Rico.

Last week, a 6-year-old's death marked the first pediatric flu fatality in West Virginia since the 2014-2015 flu season.

Dr. Povroznik said the reported number of cases appears to be tapering off, but advised that Influenza B is rising.

"The Yamagata of the Type B strain is affecting more of those young adults up to the age of 64, and the Victorian lineage seems be affecting pediatrics," Dr. Povroznik said.

Using a white board for a visual aid, Dr. Povroznik estimated that about 20% of the total flu cases in the country fall under the umbrella of Type B.

While UHC is not at full capacity, the hospital continues to see a high volume of patients with flu-like symptoms.

Dr. Povroznik said the hospital has had 76 admissions with flu since the season began.

Of those who reported symptoms, about 34-35% have tested positive. Dr. Povroznik would like to see that figure dip below five percent.

"While it's that high, we have widespread risk in the environment," he said.