Federal well being officers warned Friday that this yr’s flu outbreak is extra extreme than another because the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and that its depth continues to be growing.
Officers on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) mentioned in a cellphone name with reporters that the variety of individuals experiencing flu-like signs is growing. Hospitalizations for influenza are additionally rising.
What’s extra, flu exercise has stayed on the similar degree nationwide for about three weeks, mentioned Dr. Dan Jernigan, the director of the CDC’s Influenza Division. That units it aside from many flu seasons, through which exercise wanes in sure components of the U.S.
“We regularly see completely different components of the nation ‘mild up’ at completely different instances, however for the previous three weeks, all the nation has been experiencing a lot of flu, all on the similar time,” he mentioned.
The deaths of seven youngsters from the flu had been reported to the CDC this week, bringing the whole variety of little one deaths this flu season to 37, CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald mentioned.
Maybe driving the most recent improve in these reporting flu-like signs is the inflow of children returning to highschool after winter holidays, Jernigan mentioned, pointing to the next charge of flu instances in youngsters.
The quantity of people that have gone to see a physician for influenza-like sickness additionally rose this week to six.6 p.c. That signifies that 6.6 p.c of all individuals who went to clinics or emergency rooms had a flu-like sickness.
The variety of individuals going to see medical doctors for such sicknesses is at its highest charge because the 2009 swine flu outbreak, when it rose to 7.7 p.c, Jernigan mentioned.
Most individuals with the flu this season are contaminated with the H3N2 virus, one of the crucial extreme — and lethal — strains of the seasonal flu. What’s extra, Jernigan mentioned, the 2017 to 2018 flu season doubtless nonetheless has weeks to go.
“In seasons the place H3N2 is the principle reason for influenza, we see extra instances, extra visits to the physician, extra hospitalizations and extra deaths, particularly amongst older individuals,” he mentioned.