Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Flu activity in United States rivals 2009 swine flu pandemic

Flu activity in United States rivals 2009 swine flu pandemic

The mortality rate nationwide attributed to the flu and pneumonia "sharply increased again to 9.7 percent for the week ending January 13, 2018", the CDC wrote. As of February 3rd, 52,567 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza have been reported, 11,802 people have been hospitalized with influenza and there have been three pediatric flu-related deaths in New York State this season. Yet, some go for whatever length of time that 20 weeks, wellbeing authorities say.

It's also the worst winter flu season since the government changed how it measures the flu virus in 2003.

Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract and is spread by droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets.

The only possible good news, Schuchat said, was that the nation is seeing rising cases of influenza B. While influenza A strains still accounted for 73.3% of all samples tested, influenza B accounted for 26.7%, up from 19.8% in last week's report.

Schuchat noted that while influenza A (H3N2) remains the predominant strain, influenza B viruses are comprising about 30% of viruses reported in this week's data.

The virus is still widespread in 48 states, bar Hawaii and OR, which dropped down to regional level last week. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year.

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This week's data showed outpatient visits for influenza-like illness comprised 7.7% of all visits - up from 7.1% in last week's data.

A risky United States flu season is still striking the elderly and infants, federal health officials warned on Friday, and looks likely to continue for several weeks.

This flu season is now more than 11 weeks old and the average flu season lasts 16 weeks. Record numbers of people are seeking care at doctors' offices and emergency rooms, and we haven't seen it this bad since the swine flu scare back in 2009. "We were hoping to have better news to share today, but unfortunately it looks like this flu season continues to be particularly challenging", Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on a conference call Friday morning. She said the county still has vaccine and is not seeing increased demand, but is prepared if needed.

Get a flu shot.

Even though the flu vaccine has low effectiveness against H3N2 viruses, it is more effective against other flu viruses, Schuchat said. "The influenza season is far from over, and it is not too late to get the flu shot".

The supply of the antiviral drugs used to treat patients with the flu exceeds the demand, although prescriptions are higher than in previous years, said Schuchat.

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