Monday, 10 December, 2018

CDC reports flu season is similar to 2009 swine flu

Guelph area child dies from flu, 2nd child's death possibly flu-related Flu activity in US rivals 2009 swine flu pandemic
Johnnie Parks | 10 February, 2018, 01:56

Over the next few weeks it would make sense to see more flu-related deaths, as those potential deaths will likely come from current influenza-related hospitalizations, CDC researchers said.

The levels of influenza-like illnesses being reported now are as high as the peak of the swine flu epidemic in 2009, and exceed the last severe seasonal flu outbreak in 2003 when a new strain started circulating, said Anne Schuchat, acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "But this season continues to be challenging, and we may be on track to break records".

She said the flu remains widespread in almost all states, except for OR and Hawaii.

Flu activity across the country has reached new highs compared to other recent severe flu seasons, Schuchat said.

Influenza activity is breaking recent records this season, and is not yet slowing down, according to the CDC.

The CDC said the amount of suspected flu cases at doctor's offices and hospital emergency rooms last week matched that seen in 2009, when a new swine flu pandemic swept the world. There were also an additional 10 pediatric deaths reported, bringing the total to 63 pediatric deaths this flu season.

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Last week, 43 states had high patient traffic for the flu, up from 42, the CDC reported.

According to the CDC's weekly surveillance report, there were 14,094 new confirmed cases ending February 3, bringing the season total of reported illness to 151,983.

Of the 167 people who have died across the state, 13 have died in Marion County; 5 in Morgan County; 5 in Tippecanoe County; 9 in Hamilton County; and 6 in Shelby County.

The hospitalization rate for the flu this season sits at 59.9 per 100,000 people.

However, the vaccine does help those who get the shot build stronger immunity against the B strain, Schuchat said, citing the Canadian research. The vaccine may also reduce the severity of symptoms if you catch the flu despite getting vaccinated. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year. The vaccine's effectiveness against the H3N2 flu strain remains questionable. "If it looks like flu, treat it", said Schuchat. "If you have asthma or other lung diseases, you are at higher risk of developing complications from the flu".

According to CDC experts, antiviral drugs are most effective when taken within the first 48 hours of symptoms being shown. Flu season may not end until May.

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