Severe Flu Season Slams All But One State: CDC

From Drugs.com - January 12, 2018

Severe Flu Season Slams All But One State: CDC

FRIDAY, Jan. 12, 2018 -- The worst flu season in years is only getting worse, with 49 states now seeing widespread misery, U.S. health officials report.

"Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now," Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's influenza division, said during a media briefing Friday. On a map of the United States tracking flu activity, "this is the first year that we have had the entire continental U.S. be the same color," he noted.

Only Hawaii and the District of Columbia have been spared widespread flu infection so far, according to the CDC.

"There has been a very rapid increase in the numbers of people coming in to see their doctors. The season has started early, and it is probably peaking right about now," Jernigan added.

Not only that, but "there is also a rapid rise in the number of people being hospitalized for laboratory-confirmed flu," Jernigan said. In just the past week, hospitalizations have almost doubled, going from 13.7 per 100,000 to 22.7 per 100,000.

The highest rates of hospitalizations are among those over the age of 65, but hospitalizations for those 50 to 64 is also high and increasing, Jernigan noted. And 20 children have died from the flu so far this season.

An imperfect vaccine and a long bout of cold, wintry weather have conspired to turn this flu season into a very severe one, health officials have said.

It's no secret by now that the flu vaccine is not a good match with the H3N2 flu strain that is dominating the season.

At this point, 80 percent of reported flu cases are this more severe strain, according to the CDC. And Jernigan said he expected this year's vaccine to be about 30 percent effective against H3N2 when all is said and done.

Unfortunately, the end of this flu season is nowhere in sight.


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